Orapa United were in uncharted territory over the weekend. They faced an opponent who couldn’t be more experienced in the competition. Against all odds, Orapa United marched to glory when they humbled giants, Township Rollers, in front of a fully packed Francistown stadium.
On paper Orapa united were the under dogs owing to Rollers dominancy in the premier league. However it was experience that won the day as Ndlovu, Patrick Motsepe and Ronald Chikomo brought fresh impetus to the Orapa based outfit. The Ostriches, as Orapa is affectionately known got the ball rolling from the first whistle until the end of the game. Chikomo laboured hard to destabilise Rollers, and when he scored an equaliser it was not surprising that he mastered the art of playing in the Mascom Top 8 final.
Before reaching the finals of this year’s 5th edition, Chikomo had led Gaborone United, a club he joined since his maiden days in Botswana, to two finals. However, on this day, it was Chikomo’s skills show which sliced through the hearts of Popa faithful, inflicting pain literally to dim Rollers hopes of silverware this season. Just eight minutes from full time, the striker capitalised on Rollers keeper Kabelo Dambe and his defence failure to clear their defensive line and acrobatically scored to cancel out Segolame Boy’s earlier goal. Chikomo’s goal sent the game to extra time where Orapa substitutes, Thabang Sesinyi and Onkabetse Mankgantai scored a goal apiece as Orapa cruised to a historic victory.
Chikomo together with Maano Ditshupo are both top goal scorers of the prestigious tournament.
The game was a highly tactical one and a lot of play was in the midfield. Victorious Madinda Ndlovu said his team needed the trophy more than their opponents and said it was not a fluke they deserved to be the champions.
Orapa United now stand a chance to represent the country in the continental Confederation of African Football Confederation cup tournament. Confederation cup is played by teams that have won top domestic official tournaments while CAF champions’ league is played by league champions.
Contacted for comment, Orapa representative Barulaganye Jones Mogotsi said, “the plan is to go to CAF to compete with the other champions in the continent and raise the country’s flag.” Mogotsi confirmed that the team presented the trophy to the villages in the Boteti regions on Monday.
Orapa and Township Rollers are destined to play their last league games against each a fortnight from now. The encounter is expected to be tough since it is widely expected to be a league championship deciding match.