Stage set for Coke Cup semis

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For the second time since 2008, Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are clashing in the semis of the Coca-Cola Cup at the Molepolole Stadium on Sunday.

Though the then invincible Chiefs emerged tops, the match was unforgettable because Gunners nearly became the first side to beat Magosi in a season they never lost a match en-route to a Coca-Cola Cup and Premier League double.

Some say if it was a boxing match, Gunners would have come out victorious on points. They completely dominated in open play but just could not find the back of the net. The two giants eventually went to a penalty shoot-out where Chiefs finally booked their place in the semi-finals. The two sides meet again at a time when they are both doing relatively well in the league.

With the league title now seemingly out of reach for both Chiefs and Gunners, the Coca-Cola Cup remains the only hope for glory this season. Chiefs' utility player, Tshepo Motlhabankwe will once again face his former club and it will be interesting to see how the two sides match up especially in the midfield where they have quality players.

 Motlhabankwe has been used many times this season in the defensive role, thus relegating Elijah Montsho to the bench. Both players have done relatively well in that role although many see Motlhabankwe as a natural right back. Dirang Moloi is likely to play in the central midfield next to either Motlhabankwe or Montsho. On his day, Moloi can destroy any side with a quick ball to his strikers and accurate defence-splitting passes.

Gunners on the other hand have a cream of good central midfielders. Kemmy Pilato, Aubrey Sithole and Monageng Thaele are some of the midfielders that any local side would dream of having in their line up. Pilato is one of the few local players who are always geared up for big games and never disappoints. Chiefs must watch Maano Ditshupo because he is one of the most dangerous players though he is underrated.

The nippy midfielder has been used by coach Daniel Nare in different roles when other players were injured or suspended and he has always performed above expectations.

In the other Coca-Cola Cup semi-final, Township Rollers will face First division side, Mogoditshane Fighters at Molepolole Stadium tomorrow. Fighters remain the only lower division side in the competition. On their way to the semis, they deservedly defeated Gaborone United (GU) 2-1 in the quarterfinals to prove how strong they are. Although Rollers have been in top form in the league, they know very well that a knockout competition is a different matter altogether.

Charles Mositwane single-handedly destroyed the GU defence in the quarters and look set to be one of the players to watch in tomorrow's encounter. Rollers on the other hand will be looking for Terrence Mandaza to continue banging in the goals. The two games kick off at 3pm.


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