Title rivals, Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs cannot afford any slip up this weekend when they take on tough opposition in the be MOBILE Premier League.
Rollers face an unpredictable BDF XI while Chiefs play a Notwane side on the slide. With 11 games to go, Rollers have opened a five-point gap after Chiefs stumbled against ECCO City Greens last weekend.
Popa last tasted league success in 2005 under the late Banks Panene but look on course to end the drought. Coach Rahman Gumbo is aware that getting three points will be crucial this weekend if his charges are to keep Chiefs at bay. The coach is no stranger to pressure at this level after winning titles with various clubs in Zimbabwe and Malawi. He is aware that this weekend, he is up against an unpredictable and tricky side.
"They are a tricky outfit. We, however, take all our games seriously although there are no special preparations," Gumbo said.The return of three players from national team duty will bolster Rollers against BDF XI.
Goalkeeper, Kabelo Dambe, Onalethata 'OT' Tshekiso and Aubrey Lebonnetse were part of the Zebras side that beat Mozambique 1-0 on Wednesday.Rollers will be buoyed by the 7-0 drubbing they gave to Motlakase last weekend. Since the pacesetters lost 3-2 to Chiefs in January, they have recovered admirably to cling to top spot. Once again, leading goal scorer and strong contender for player of the season, Terrence Mandaza will be crucial to Rollers' quest for glory. Pintsized winger, Edwin Moalosi has a knack of scoring important goals and there is still ample support from Joel '16V' Mogorosi and captain, Thapelo 'Pepe' Balepi.
BDF XI coach, Stanley Mwaanga, whose side has been on the ascendancy after a slow start to the season, said his players are motivated ahead of the Rollers' game. He decried the continued postponement of their games, which breaks their momentum.
Mwaanga believes his side can halt the Rollers juggernaut.
"We have played and beaten them in the past. We respect them but they are aware that we are a hard nut to crack," he said.
He has an injury-free squad and hopes that his players' in the national team returned from Mozambique without knocks.
BDF XI are placed sixth, 19 points behind Rollers and the league title is beyond their reach. The talented but underachieving side was dumped out of the Coca Cola Cup in mid-February by ECCO.
Midfielder, Patrick Motsepe, striker, Mokgathi Mokgathi, who is having a quiet season, defender, Mompati Thuma and goalkeeper, Khalid Niyonzima should be key in the BDF XI quest for maximum points.
Chiefs might go into the Sunday evening match against Notwane at the UB Stadium eight points behind if Rollers win tomorrow.
A Rollers' loss will present Magosi with the opportunity to cut the lead to two points.
But Chiefs are aware of the tough task that awaits them against a Notwane side that gave them a hard time in the first round.
That game was headed for a 1-1 draw when Keaketswe 'Mara' Moloi pounced in the dying minutes to give Chiefs a 2-1 lead but this was cancelled immediately when Keoagetse 'Barnes' Radipotsane grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to ensure a share of the spoils.