Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mapalastina rise from the dead

Township Rollers rose from the dead when they beat second-placed Nico United 3-2 in a Be MOBILE Premier League game played at Molepolole Sports Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was a game which was played before a paltry crowd after a section of Rollers’ supporters stayed at home in protest after some of their players went on a drinking spree, which saw them lose two consecutive games over the Easter Holidays.

The win sees the Gaborone giants remaining on the ninth spot with 28 points, something which will give them confidence going into their midweek game against struggling Prisons XI.

Against Nico, Rollers were underdogs but they showed a fighting spirit which was lacking in their previous games against Extension Gunners and Motlakase. Mapalastina had lots of support from Gaborone United and Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ fans who did not want Nico to get maximum points from the game.

Rollers started the game purposefully and they scored their quickest goal this season when midfielder Kobamelo Kebaikanye found the back of the net in the fifth minute. The visitors’ defence went to sleep and the nippy midfielder accepted the invitation to punish them. As has been the case in the past encounters, Rollers’ defence was once again their weakest point. They were stretched apart but poor finishing from Robert Tamba and Bonolo Fraizer saved the day for Mapalastina.

Nico equalized in the 15th minute through diminutive midfielder Topo Piet to make the score remain at 1-1 at the break. After the break, Onalethata Tshekiso gave his side a lead inside the first five minutes.

It was not long before Maano Ditshupo capitalized on a rebound to stretch his side’s lead in the 60th minute. At this stage, it seemed that Nico were dead and buried. But Majambolo managed to get a lifeline when Gift Moyo pulled one back halfway through the second half.

Rollers had to desperately defend their lead until the end for what is their most famous win in the second round.

After the players’ misbehavior last weekend, Rollers’ technical team started with only three players who broke the club’s curfew. The other four players had to watch the game from the bench the entire 90 minutes. ┬áAt the end of the game, the most relieved man was head coach Darlington Dodo who has been under immense pressure of late. “The boys managed to pull themselves up after the poor showing during the holidays. We had to win the game for the supporters because they were disappointed by our last results. I was really impressed by their response because we (technical team) did talk to them that their behaviour outside the pitch is very important because they’re role models to lots of people,” said Dodo.

In another important game at the weekend, relegation threatened Notwane beat fellow strugglers Uniao Flamengo Santos 2-0 in a game played in Molepolole on Sunday afternoon. The three points gained might prove crucial to Notwane’s efforts to avoid relegation come the end of the season.

In another relegation dog-fight, Prisons XI and Mogoditshane Fighters played to a 2-2 draw at SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane.

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