The Botswana Premier League (BPL) changes gears this weekend when two of the most consistent sides, Township Rollers and Jwaneng Galaxy face off at the National Stadium tomorrow. Kick-off is at 4pm.
The two sides have been battling for supremacy against each other for the past four seasons with Rollers winning the league title three times while Galaxy settled for the runner-up position. However, Galaxy finally lifted the title during the 2019-2020 season in what appeared like a fierce battle cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, both Rollers and Galaxy were breathing on each other’s necks before the pandemic hit the region, prompting the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to end the season with an average of 10 matches left. At the time, Galaxy were perched at the top with 41 points while Rollers sat closely below with 40 points. On head to head, Rollers have been the dominant side with Galaxy only winning once against Popa since gaining promotion to the Premier League years ago.
Saturday’s epic battle will be the first league match for Galaxy coach, Morena Ramoreboli who missed last weekend 4-2 win over Gilport Lions. The South African mentor had travelled to his country, a few days after leading his side to a historic CAF Champions League group stage qualification. He is back in the country to lead his side in what is expected to be a tactical battle against Rollers gaffer, Hassan Oktay. The latter sat on the bench for the first time last weekend when his side defeated Extension Gunners 2-0. Both coaches have been given almost the same mandates of building teams that will not only conquer on home soil but also in Africa. Ramoreboli is already doing well in the Champions League and is set to be rewarded with a new long-term contract. The two parties are currently in discussion over a long-term contract and reports from Galaxy are that both the club and Ramoreboli are willing to extend.
On the pitch, both sides have an exciting mixture of experienced and young players at their disposal. Namibian-born attacker, Wendell Rudath, has already proved that he is among the key players for Galaxy this season. He has scored crucial goals in the CAF Champions League campaign. At Rollers, the 'blockbuster' signing, Jean Bertrand Iradukunda is set to make his debut after missing the Gunners clash due to a knock. The Rwandan striker arrived with a big reputation from Gasogi United in Rwanda and started training with his new teammates two weeks ago.
In other interesting matches, Gunners face another tough encounter against log leaders, Orapa United tomorrow at the Lobatse Sports Complex. The Ostriches kicked off their campaign with an emphatic 4-1 win over Notwane last Sunday. Gaborone United (GU) travel to Serowe for a date with Mahalapye Railway Highlanders while Morupule Wanderers take on Masitaoka at the same venue in a double header. Police XI, who played to a 0-0 draw against Security Systems last weekend face wounded Notwane at Otse Police College. On Sunday, Sua Flamingoes host Mogoditshane Fighters in Francistown while Gilport Lions take on Prisons XI at the National Stadium. The BDF XI versus Security Systems encounter will open the weekend’s action tomorrow night in Lobatse.