The 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership champions, Township Rollers, are scheduled to face South African PSL giants, Kaizer Chiefs, in a practice match on 1st October in Johannesburg.
The game is expected to further boost the escalating Rollers brand as the local outfit continues their busy pre season schedule. However, there is a catch to this unexpected and exciting clash, as the game will be played behind closed doors as part of the next CAF Champions league preparations for both sides.
Speaking in an interview this week, Popa Popa’s mouthpiece, Bafana Pheto confirmed the pre season friendly, adding that the team is expected to leave for Johannesburg on the 1st October. “The team will probably leave early on 1st October and arrive in Johannesburg at around 11 am while kick off is expected late in the afternoon.”However, Pheto said the supporters will not be allowed to attend the match as per request by the Soweto giants.
“Kaizer Chiefs have called us for a practice match and they have requested that we do not allow fans into the game for reasons best known to them,” Pheto said. Moreover, the Popa spokesperson explained that the team’s competence and recent exhibition of quality football have earned them this golden ticket.
“We have motivated teams in the southern region to see the value of our team and we did this through our great display of good football and professionalism. In Lesotho the clubs we played recently told us they wanted to learn from the team. They did so in the end as we also benefitted from them. Thus far, both Chiefs and Rollers are subject to a football erudition,” he said.
Moreover, Pheto said they have learnt a lot from the Soweto giants in the previous years as they have previously played against each other in two CAF Champions League encounters. “We have previously learnt from their professionalism and the way they hold their affairs both in and off the field.”
Pheto added that the professional multiple champions have a great approach to the welfare of players. “It is interesting how they handle their talent, their players live collectively in their base at Naturena and that makes it easy for the management to bring about the best from them (players). Although others look at that approach as taming players, I believe it is the best way to produce a team which can work interchangeably.”
Pheto explained that their trip to South Africa serves as preparations to compete in the next CAF Champions league tournament. “We are preparing for the Champions league because whatever the outcome of the previous season we are bound to play in the competition.
As you can recall Mochudi Centre Chiefs did not participate in the ongoing edition and that means they are barred from participating in the competitions for at least two years, so whether we are the champions or not we are going to take part in the competition,” he said the game also provides an opportunity for the Soweto outfit that has been struggling in the PSL. Amakhosi who are currently under renowned coach, Steve Khompela, need this sort of practice match as they have been struggling to produce results early in the current season.
Amakhosi have since been knocked out of the 2016 MTN8 Cup by newcomers, Cape Town City and recently suffered a major loss to Bidvest Wits in the opening game of the 2016/17 ABSA Premier League. The team also struggled against rivals Platinum Stars, with the game ending in a draw.
Meanwhile, Rollers have been declared the 2015/16 premier league champions after they withdrew their appeal from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week. “Following this and the playoff match between Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs played on 11th August, which was won 5-1 by Rollers, the BFA hereby confirms that Rollers are the 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership champions with 65 points followed by Chiefs with 62 points,” a statement from the BFA reads.