Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Police XI upstages a disjointed Rollers outfit

Football is indeed an interesting game.
Just last week, Selibe Phikwe-based side, Nico United, were losing many games by wide margins. But last weekend they managed to run away with victory against one of the league’s contenders, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, winning by two goals to nil.

On Friday it was another drama.
Police XI, who were also losing many games, managed to defeat another strong league contender, Township Rollers by two goals to one on Friday at Molepolole Sports Complex.

Police XI’s victory also came a week after suffering they suffered one of the league’s heaviest defeats by losing to Chiefs by a massive five goals to one.

One would have thought it would just be a walk in the park for Township Rollers, but it was a different Police XI from the previous games.

Rollers were badly disjointed and Police XI took advantage of that. They exploited a Rollers defence that had been suspect in most games.

The Rollers defence, in most cases, is helped by its mobile and strong midfield. But on Friday, it was weak and then more pressure was piled on the already beleaguered Rollers defence.
It was not surprising when early in the first half, Police took the lead through Zambian international Richard Mwanza.

Mwanza, who would score the winning goal also in the first half, had his first goal cancelled by Joel Mogorosi, who scored a brilliant goal that left Police XI goalie, Jackson Legodi, a bit flummoxed.

Mwanza’s goals came via brilliant work from former Rollers midfielder, Dennis Kaelo. Rollers tried to come back in the second half, but Police XI absorbed the pressure and launched attacks via their kingpin midfielder, Betsho Pius.
Pius was torrid in Rollers defence and hard tacklers, like Khomari Mothuba and Timothy Phiri, found it hard to contain him. Rollers’ lethal striker, Terrence Mandaza, was just a lonely figure upfront without any service. The only player who showed signs of hunger was youthful Edwin Moalosi, but he got little support. He managed to open up Police on several occasions but some of his efforts went wild.

On the other hand, Police defence was tightly manned by tall and slender, Tebogo Tshuma and Kenny Gaontebale. Rollers also had difficulty in putting in square balls because Tshuma thwarted them with easy.

Gaontebale, however, made sure that fast pacers like Joel Mogorosi, Thapelo Balepi were kept at bay. New Rollers Malawian international, Lawrence Majawa, also did not have a good debut as he failed to combine well with Moalosi and Mogorosi.

Rollers cried foul on the stoppage time when referee, Tebogo Ramocha, denied them what looked like a legitimate penalty. Mogorosi took a powerful shot inside the box and one of Police XI defenders blocked it with his hand. When Ramocha just waved play on, Rollers supporters, who came in their numbers, could not believe it.
Police XI had to win at all cots or else heads were going to roll in the technical department.

Pius and Kaelo were always playing below par in past games but on Friday, they played the game of their lives. Even veteran player, Therisanyo ‘Tshutshu’ Haake, played brilliantly and made sure that their midfield did not easily lose possession.

The loss by Rollers has also dented their title aspirations as they are still behind log leaders Gaborone United (GU) and Centre Chiefs. Rollers are at par with Centre chiefs on games but two points behind. They have 29 points while Centre Chiefs have 31.
GU is comfortable at the top with 32 points with a game in hand over Rollers and Centre Chiefs.

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