Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Madinda aims for the elusive Mascom Top 8 Cup

Township Rollers’ head coach Madinda Ndlovu is without doubt the most successful mentor in Botswana football at the present moment, having won the Premier League in three successive seasons.

He did it twice with Mochudi Centre Chiefs before lifting it with his current employers in the past campaign. Despite all this success, Ndlovu has not been that lucky in the knockout competition Mascom Top 8. In an interview with Sunday Standard, the charismatic mentor revealed that he plans to break the duck this season.

In the past three editions, the Zimbabwean gaffer bowed out twice in the semis with Chiefs before losing in the final to BDF XI last season. Against the army side it was a matter of so near yet so far as his side lost through post-match penalties in a game which ended in a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes.

It was a game which left Ndlovu and his troops disappointed. Instead of putting his head down and thinking that he is not meant to win the knockout cup, Madinda went straight to the drawing board to plan for this season’s campaign.

In the two-legged quarterfinal, Mapalastina were drawn against Motlakase. Rollers showed they meant business when they beat Motlakase 3-1 away in Serowe on October 31. When they returned to the National Stadium for the home tie on Tuesday night, Rollers ran riot and hammered their visitors 5-0. It was a game when their talisman Segolame Boy netted a hattrick much to the delight of Ndlovu.

In the first leg, Boy was a shadow of himself leaving thousands of his fans disappointed but he responded positively in Gaborone. The other goals came from Kobamelo Kebaikanye and an own goal from Phillip Ofitlhile.

“I was happy with the performance of my boys on the (Tuesday) night. Our plan was to be on the offensive and wrap up the match. In fact, the match was won in Serowe and the performance of the team in the first half on Tuesday was brilliant. I must give credit to the fringe players who came in and showed that they deserve to be in the team. Yellow (Thato Bolweleng came in late after Mocks (Otlantshekela Mooketsi) pulled a muscle and he played brilliantly. It is the kind of headache we need as the technical team,” said Ndlovu.

Against Motlakase, Rollers had to do without four of their regular players in captain Sekhana Koko, Oscar Ncenga, Mooketsi and Leutwetse Tshireletso who are sitting out due to an assortment of injuries. Striker Gofaone Tiro, midfielder Godfrey Ngele and defender Kgosietsile Shadrack are some of the players who have been in long-term injuries. Ndlovu has no doubt that when all these players have fully recovered, he would have a strong squad.

As his side marches into the semis, Ndlovu said he is not worried about which side he would face. Other sides which have booked their place in the semis are holders BDF XI and Gaborone United. The tie between Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Nico United has not been decided as it was abandoned in the 74th minute due to power failure.

“These are the same teams which were in the semi-finals last season. One can only get to comment after seeing the draw. At the moment our target is to win this trophy. As an individual this is one trophy which has been elusive and I would be glad to lift it,” Ndlovu added.

This is how Rollers line-up; Michael Pepukani (Mwampole Masule), Obonye Moswate, Bogosi Kaekwe, Thato Bolweleng, Simisane Mathumo, Lawrence Majawa, Maano Ditshupo (Lesego Molemogi), Segolame Boy (Manqoba Ngwenya), Motsholetsi Sikele, Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Jerome Louis.

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