FRANCISTOWN: Minnows Green Lovers visit dominant Orapa United at their Itekeng couldron this evening.
Lovers have proved a hard nut to crack in their debut season and particularly rise to the occasion in big matches.The Ostriches on the other hand are a tough nut to crack with their last home defeat coming way back in August 2014, meaning the Itekeng Stadium has become a theatre of nightmares for many visiting teams.
The two teams’ rivalry intensified during their stay in the First Division before Orapa United were promoted to the Premiership. The teams have met twice before, with Green Lovers still winless after a 0-0 stalemate in Serowe before the Ostriches edged it 3-2 in the reverse fixture in Orapa.
Orapa United have had a storming two-year stay in the Premiership and sit third with 25 points, 15 goals while conceding eight. Lovers on the other hand, have 10 points, scored 18 times and conceded a massive 25 goals. They are in position nine.
Lovers coach, Othusitse Kootswele said preparations are on course although he will miss two key players.
Kootswele said: “My captain Keakabetse Rentse and Kabo Ikanyeng will be absent due to academic commitments otherwise we have a full squad and we have done our assignment. “Well we faced a negative setback with the break. You see we play modern football and if you lay off some players gain a few kilos and that is something we had to guard against. I also have watched our opponents play, they are more physical and they have a good mental strength, we have worked on that and we believe we can spring a surprise.”
Meanwhile the Ostriches spokesperson, Tebatso Hule, said the team was ready to take on Lovers. He said preparations went well and they have a full squad for the game. “We are switching our focus from a Cup game back to the league,” Hule said. “We still want to maintain our unbeaten record at home and we don’t want to drop points especially tonight. We are focused on collecting maximum points until end of the first round and close the gap between us and the leaders.”