Rollers, Orapa: Who blinks first?

Mark Harrison
Mark Harrison


With Rollers’ traditional sparring partners, Mochudi Centre Chiefs languishing in third and other attractive options, Gaborone United and Extension Gunners enduring a nightmarish start to the season, it has been left to unfashionable Orapa United to attempt what other teams have failed to do in 14 matches.

Rollers are unbeaten in 14 league matches and have emerged as the safest bet to wrestle the title from Chiefs.

But on Sunday, Popa come face-to-face with uncompromising Ostriches; themselves unbeaten at home since August 2014.

Former Rollers coach, Madinda Ndlovu is unbeaten since joining at the start of the season and has a compact and capable bunch.

It leaves three records facing possible extinction on Sunday if the match does not end deadlocked. Fans around the country wait with bated breath to see who blinks first in this battle of wits. Itekeng, venue of what should be a bruising encounter, has continuously been a kind fortress for Orapa United, with Rollers carrying bitter memories from their last visit, which ended in a 2-0 defeat.

Mark Harrison will look to outlast the hosts as his side boasts of arguably the best talent in the land. On the other hand, Ndlovu would look to press the visitors high, particularly as Orapa has potential match winners in advanced areas with former Notwane man, Lemogang Maswena particularly standing out.

With both sets looking formidable, the game might rightly rest on the bench where the two coaches’ abilities would undergo a tough 90-minute examination.

Ndlovu and Harrison are travelled enough to react to the expected dynamics where formations would be dismantled several times during the encounter.

Both teams would not want to lose their proud records as the season reaches the half way mark.  While all soccer ears and eyes would be on Orapa on Sunday, in between soaring expectations of one or more records falling, the match might produce the neutrals’ disappointment; a stalemate.

A draw, which on paper appears the likeliest result, would mean both teams (and coaches) emerge with their records intact.  A win for Rollers would cement the Gaborone giants as firm favourites for the title, while a loss would ignite fresh interest from other title chasers, who were increasingly becoming despondent.  

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