There sure will be entertainment galore this Saturday when traditional blood rivals Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs clash in a beMOBILE Premier League encounter that has all the ingredients to produce fireworks.
It will be a battle of wits and tactics, coupled with a test of sufficient game planning and good judgement as the two giants of Botswana football square up at what is likely to be a packed Molepolole Sports Complex.
Pound for pound, at least by the standards set in recent games, Chiefs are miles ahead of their Gaborone West-based counterparts and it is not surprising that the Mochudi lads enter the weekend game as overwhelming favourites to prevail over the massive encounter.
However, the Chiefs arsenal can only enter the field an overconfident lot at their own peril. In Rollers, they are coming up against ten-time league champions – the country’s most successful club by far – who have over the years mastered the art of winning big encounters even when the chips are down.
Chiefs therefore had better be on top of their game lest they find themselves embarrassed by a club many have already written off this season.Under head coach Madinda Ndlovu, Chiefs have been unleashing a pack of mean punches from almost all departments.
The football statistics also speak for themselves. In the ninth week of the season, top-of-the-table Magosi have scored 21 goals and conceded only five, with no losses, two draws and seven victories. Rollers on the other hand are on position 13; have won only one game, with four draws and three loses.
With only seven points to their credit, Rollers have scored 10 goals and conceded 12. It would therefore not be far-fetched to expect the reigning league champions to roll over their nemesis given their star-studded line up.
Kekaetswe ’Mara’ Moloi is only one of that galaxy of stars. A top goal scorer last season, Mara already has nine goals to his name. He possesses great speed, a powerful shot and bewildering creativity - any defender’s worst nightmare. Another of the stars, hard-working midfielder Pontsho ‘Piro’ Moloi, will surely add salt to the wounds that Darlington Dodo’s defenders are likely to lick at the end of the titanic battle.
It is a pity his younger brother, Dirang Moloi, will not feature in the match following a red card he received in their last game against Prisons. He would add to the worries of Rollers as he has always been crucial on set pieces.
To compound Rollers’ woes, Chiefs also possess what arguably is the most dangerous left flank in the league. Left-back Galabgwe Moyana is fast on the ball, and often runs deep and initiates attacks while upfront winger Phenyo ’Mzambiya’ Mongala will use his vast experience, speed and flair to keep Rollers’ defence running most of the time. All in all, Ndlovu’s combinations at the front will be interesting to watch.
Yet Rollers still remain worthy adversaries. It is still early in the season and they cannot be written off as championship contenders. Their legion of supporters are still waiting for them to rise from the ashes of mediocrity, and what better moment to do it than beating Chiefs this weekend. Truth be told, Dodo has a bunch of quality players at his disposal; he just needs to make them gel.
With the likes of Ntesang ‘Mirror’ Simanyana and Lawrence Majawa in the mid-field, containing Chiefs should not be impossible. Rollers’ backline is even more formidable, led by Zebras’ left back Edwin Olerile and the likes of Thato ‘Yellow’ Bolweleng. Dodo will not have much of an excuse if he concedes. On attack, the experience of Onalethata Tshekiso and Sekhana ‘Nandos’ Koko will be instrumental.