By Duncan Kgangkenna
Hordes of supporters are expected to fill the Molepolole Sports Complex and Lobatse Sports complex this coming weekend as the most eagerly-anticipated clashes in domestic football take place. Four teams will square up in the second leg of the Mascom Top 8 quarter final stage and already this points to a riveting showdown.
On Friday the Old Naledi Mascom Top 8 debut entrant, Sharp Shooting Stars host Jwaneng Galaxy in Molepolole. Galaxy goes into the match after walloping Sharps 2 nil a fortnight ago. Galaxy are the favourites to win looking at the two goals they carry forward. If they score an away goal it will compound Sharps chances of qualifying further. Sharps will have to score at least 3 goals to nil to advance to the semi finals.
On Saturday Black Forest is home to the tournament defending champions, Township Rollers. The latter won 1 nil in the first leg of the quarter finals. Black Forest is an unpredictable team that is capable of surprises and the encounter will provide a platform for them to prove their mettle against the high ranking Rollers. On the other hand, Rollers the largest supported team in the tournament, is expected to fight in pursuit of defending the championship.
BDF XI and Orapa United lock horns on Sunday at Lobatse Sports Complex. BDF XI narrowly won 1 nil in Orapa during the first leg. The away goal rule gives BDF little advantage over their opponents. On strength, the two teams are capable of pulling through to the next stage.
On Monday the final leg of the quarter finals will be between Gaborone United (GU) and Serowe based Miscellaneous. GU won the first leg 1 nil and goes into the last round of the quarter final with a goal advantage. The Money machine as GU is commonly called since the coming of Philemon Makwengwe as the coach has motivated the players and stared playing better football.
Black Forest, Miscellaneous and Sharps are the only teams in the ongoing competition who have never won the Mascom Top 8 cup before.
The Mascom Top 8 previous winners
2011/12: Township Rollers 3-1 ECCO City Greens.
2012/13: Gaborone United 2-1 Botswana Defence Force.
2013/14: Botswana Defence Force XI 1-1 (aet; 5-4 pen.)
2014/15: Gaborone United 2-1 Township Rollers.
2015/16: Orapa United 3-1 (aet) Township Rollers.
2016/17: Jwaneng Galaxy 4-3 (aet) Orapa United
2017/2018 Township Rollers 4 ÔÇô 2 Orapa United.