Township Rollers’ head coach Madinda Ndlovu was almost in tears after his side beat rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs 2-1 in a tension-filled beMOBILE Premier League game which played before a capacity crowd at UB Stadium on a hot Sunday afternoon.
When referee Lekgotla Johannes blew his final whistle, Ndlovu jumped up and down in joy. He then rushed into the ground to celebrate with his players. After congratulating his players, Ndlovu recollected himself to do post-match interviews with the journalists. “It was an emotional game for myself and ZachariahMuzadzi (his assistant) in a sense that I spent time with Chiefs in the past and they are like a family to me. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have sat on the bench today but because it’s the job I have chosen I had to,” said Ndlovu.
He pointed out that they came up with a plan to contain Chiefs because he is aware of their strengths. It was a sweet victory for the Zimbabwean tactician who alongside Muzadzi quit Chiefs in July under mysterious circumstances despite guiding the Kgatleng giants to two consecutive titles in 2011/12 and 2012/13 Premier League seasons.
Ahead of the fixture, many people dismissed Rollers’ chances of winning the game but they dominated the proceedings from the onset. After missing countless scoring opportunities in the first stanza, Rollers came up with a better approach in the second half.
It did not take long for Mapalastina to open the scoring when captain Sekhana Koko converted from close range after Chiefs’ defence failed to clear the lines. The goal set up the tone of the game as both sides attacked each other from all corners.
Sensing defeat, Chiefs immediately made a double substitution by bringing on Patrick Lenyeletse and Lesego Galenamotlhale for Jabu Pilane and Thabiso Khunwane respectively. Chiefs pressed for an equalizer and they were rewarded when Bonolo Fraizer headed home in the 67th minute after a telling cross Tshepo Motlhabankwe on the right.
Rollers were awarded a penalty in the 84th minute when Chiefs’ goalkeeper Raphael Nthwane was adjudged to have fouled substitute Gofaone Tiro inside the box.
Unfortunately for Mapalastina, another substitute Kenanao Kgetholetsile fired wide much to the relief of Chiefs’ technical bench. That was not enough, with the game seemingly heading for a draw, Rollers caught Chiefs on a counter to snatch a late winner in the 90th minute. The man who broke the hearts of Magosi was right-back Obonye Moswate who calmly shot past an advancing Nthwane to send the Mapalastina faithful into wild celebrations.
Moswate’s goal handed Chiefs their first loss of the season after going seven games unbeaten. As Mapalastina celebrated, Magosi were stunned and immediately left the stadium at the end of the pulsating second half.
“The goal means a lot to me because it will boost my confidence going forward. We needed to win this game because our supporters value it more than any other clash. I’m a winner from my days with TAFIC hence I did not panic when I came face to face with the goalkeeper. I’m hoping that I will get more goals though I’m playing a new position (right-back),” said Moswate. ┬á
Rollers’ supporters had all reasons to celebrate wildly after suffering the pain of a late equalizer the previous weekend when Gaborone United scored at the death.
Chiefs’ assistant coach Innocent Morapedi briefly said: “This loss was going to come at some stage. It is good that we’ve lost now because it will serve as a wake-up call.”
Interestingly, Chiefs lock horns against Rollers again next Monday at the National Stadium in the third quarterfinal of the prestigious Mascom Top 8. Those close to Chiefs believe that they will get their revenge next week. Until then, the bragging rights belong to Mapalastina.