Monday, April 12, 2021

Rollers are the champion of champions

Township Rollers have cemented themselves as the untouchable club in the country, after achieving what most teams can only dream about in both the premier league and the Coca-Cola championship.
The be-Mobile premier league champions over the weekend added more silver ware to their closet as they trounced archrivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs 3-1 in the Coca Cola finals. The final was a thriller, reminiscent of the 1993 and 1994 encounter, when Rollers played Gaborone United and Extension Gunners.

The weekend win was a sweet victory for Rollers, as they had not beaten Chiefs this season. In the first round, the two played to a two all draw, and Chiefs emerged 3-2 winners in the second round. It was a very painful defeat for Rollers who had initially led Chiefs by two goals, only for them to rebound and win the game.

Rollers have won the Coca-Cola cup for a record five times since its inception in 1992. They previously won it in 1993,’94, ‘96 and 2005. The only team that comes close to their record is Notwane, who won it three times.

It was also the first time for Rollers to win the tournament after coming back from behind. Normally Rollers score first and wrap the game up later. This time Centre Chiefs took the lead in the beginning of the first half, and Rollers had to fight until deep into the second half. Even when Chiefs were in the lead Rollers supporters were optimistic of a comeback as they kept singing.

Rollers beat Centre Chiefs on both tactics and physical fitness. Chiefs broke the ice following a controversial penalty which was converted by Michel Mhaladi. Rollers marksman Terence Mandaza equalized in the 64th minute through a header, and both teams were tied until the final whistle. In extra time it was clear that Chiefs players were tired and Mandaza put the ‘Blues’ ahead in the 93rd minute, while Edwin Moalosi sealed it five minutes before full time. For Chiefs, the loss was a bitter blow as they failed to win anything this year.

They were piped by Rollers for the league championship. Mandaza was once again instrumental to Rollers’ win, and he finished as the tournament’s leading goal scorer with nine goals. Mandaza is also the current leading goal scorer in the league with 31 goals in 29 matches. He is sought after by South African premier league teams, and several high profile South African soccer scouts and administrators have been keeping a close eye on him.

Information reaching The Telegraph indicates that three major teams are after his services.
These include Orlando Pirates, Maritzburg United and Amazulu. If Mandaza leaves Rollers they will have to start looking to fill in his boots. In 1996 Rollers lost another prized asset, Joseph Chikoti to South African side Wits University. It took them 12 years to find a perfect replacement.

Previous Coca-Cola winners

1992: Gunners (Gunners 3, Tafic 2)
1993: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 4, GU 1)
1994: Township Rollers
Township Rollers, 2 Gunners 0
1995: Notwane
(Notwane 3, BDF XI 1)
1996: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 2, BMC 0)
1997: Notwane
(Notwane 2, Mokgosi 0)
1998: BDF XI (BDF XI 1, Jwaneng Comets 0)
1999: Mogoditshane Fighters
(Mogoditshane Fighters 3, FC Satmos 0)
2000: Mogoditshane Fighters
2001: Tasc (Tasc 2, Gunners 0)
2002: Tafic (Tafic beat Tasc on penalties)
2003: Mogoditshane Fighters
Mogoditshane Fighters 1, Township Rollers 0)
2004: BDF XI (BDF 2, Fighters 0)
2005: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 3, BDF XI 1)
2006: Notwane (Notwane 2, BDF XI 1)
2007: BMC (BMC 5 ECCO City 4, after penalties)
2008: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
(Mochudi Centre Chiefs 5, Uniao Flamengo Santos 2)
2009: Uniao Flamengo Santos
(Santos 4 BDF XI 2 Pen)
2010: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 3 Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1) ET

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