The Mascom Top 8 returns this weekend with a quartet of mouthwatering quarter final second leg clashes all billed for the greater Gaborone area. The football extravaganza begins at the National Stadium of Friday night where Extension Gunners face a tricky Orapa United test in a match that can go either way after a 1-1 first leg stalemate.
The weekend soccer festival will then continue at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday BDF XI, carrying a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, host Gaborone United in another duel that still remains too close to call despite the prevailing score line. On Sunday, still in Molepolole, Police XI have a mammoth task to reverse the 4-2 drubbing they suffered at the hands of Township Rollers three weeks ago while Mochudi Centre Chiefs square up against competition debutants Gilport Lions with Chiefs carrying two crucial away goals from the two-all draw in the first leg.
The Friday duel between Gunners and Orapa is important to the Lobatse outfit with players there hoping to win the cup and ease their payment woes at the club. It has been a difficult period at Gunners with players complaining of not being paid and their motivation to win the cup goes beyond just the Friday clash, something the Orapa lads should be alert to if they are to reach the finals.
While United have been on top of their game, Gunners have been struggling to post results having lost eight league games in a row to date. Not even the arrival of their beloved son Daniel Nare as their new head coach could take the Peleng giants out of their miserable run. Yet the team also known as Mapantsula were able to hold their own against United away from home at the Itekeng Stadium three weeks ago. All that Gunners need is a goalless draw or a straight victory if they are to proceed to the semi finals.
For the Saturday duel in Molepolole, Gaborone United have all to do to come from behind to shove the army men aside. BDF XI have of late had the better of United with the two sides posting the same result in a league match. The Gaborone giants too, have been a troubled side at administrative level despite the players having not been as directly affected as those at Gunners whose management is also under siege. The defending champions’ loss to BDF XI may just be a catalyst for disaster at the club where internal strife is threatening to paralyse the operations of the club.
Another side that has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, Township Rollers, go into the second leg against Police XI on the backdrop of a comfortable lead and should be able to see off the unpredictable cops on aggregate. Rollers’ administrative squabbles have fortunately been handled in such a way that they don’t reach the players who in contrast, have been inscintillating form. Their comeback against Police XI in the first leg was proof that the players’ mental strength is unparalleled this season, making Rollers the only side sure of a place in the semi finals after this weekend. Of late Chiefs have also been involved in some internal scuffles over the models of running the club, as well as uncertainties in the technical team, but on Monday, the players should be able to ignore all else and focus on pushing Gilport aside. The two play a night game where Chiefs need either a goalless draw or a one-all draw to proceed on the away goal rule.