Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Can ECCO overcome Rollers’ jinx?

Mascom Top 8 is back in demand again and the question is who will walk away with the P1 million first prize?

After tasting the glory in the first edition, Gaborone giants Township Rollers will once again be the favourites to go all the way and defend their title. 

Standing in Mapalastina’s way is unpredictable ECCO City Greens in a repeat of last year’s final, which saw Rollers coming tops. Both sides meet in the second quarterfinal at Molepolole Sports Stadium on Saturday evening (February 23, kick off is at 6pm). The last time both sides met in this competition, Rollers, under the tutelage of Mike Sithole, outclassed Mamoja-diskie 3-1 in a thrilling spectacle at UB Stadium. It was a game which left many supporters asking for more, especially that there were doubts about Rollers’ pedigree coming into the final.

Coming into the weekend’s clash, there is no doubt that Mapalastina will be clear favourites as they have a good record against ECCO both in the league and cup competitions.

The last time Mapalastina lost to the northern giants was during the 2006 Coca-Cola Cup clash played at Lobatse Stadium. Since then, the best result ECCO have registered against Rollers has been a draw. It is a record which is worrying all those close to the ECCO family who watched in disbelief as their side was turned into nothing by Mapalastina in last year’s edition.

It was a matter of so near yet so far to the Winner takes All first Prize. ECCO assistant manager, Mothusi Madikwe, has hinted that they need to turn the tables after seven years of suffering at the hands of Rollers.

As a way of motivating their charges, Mamoja-diskie management has promised their players P400,000 to share if they go on to win this tournament.

“We believe that this is a motivation enough for the players to perform to our expectations. We’ve always come second best against Rollers but I want to believe that the time has come to beat them. I believe that we’ve quality in our squad to stand any threat posed by Rollers,” said Madikwe.
One man who is looking forward to a date against ECCO is their former star midfielder, Lovemore ‘Scatter’ Murwira, who crossed floors to Mapalastina during the January transfer window.

Interestingly, Murwira was key to ECCO’s good run in the competition last year though he failed to come to the party in the final.

After six months’ stay at ECCO, the talented midfielder pointed out that his goal is to bring back the glory times to his new home.

“I’m looking forward to our game against ECCO but I’m not going to put myself under unnecessary pressure. I have a job to do and that is to help Rollers go through to the semis. We have quality in our squad and I can tell by the mood in our camp that the boys are ready to battle,” Murwira said.

There have been reports that things are not well in Mapalastina camp but Murwira dismissed it as cheap talk.

Top 8 Quarterfinals fixtures (all games shall be played at Molepolole Sports Stadium);

Saturday 23 February 2013
Gaborone United vs Nico United, 3pm
Township Rollers vs ECCO City Greens, 6pm

Sunday 24 February 2013
BMC vs BDF XI, 3pm
Mochudi Centre Chiefs vs Mogoditshane Fighters, 6pm.

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