Township Rollers’ chances of qualifying for the CAF champions league quarter finals continues to fade like a distant drum as they succumbed 1 nil to visiting Egyptian giants Al Ahly this past weekend.
After an impressive start to their CAF Champions League campaign which began with a very entertaining 2 ÔÇô 1 win over Kampala Council City Authority, ‘ Popa’ now seems to have lost the very spark that saw some of its players named in the CAF team of the week in the opening games of the group matches.
Ever since the win, which proved a false start, Rollers found itself at the receiving end of two consecutive away losses to Esperance de Tunis of Tunisia and Al Ahly. While Rollers supporters had not expected their team to have it easy against the said African giants, it is perhaps the team’s insipid display during the losses that took the luster off their African experience.
The loss of faith in the team perhaps showed this past week as despite Rollers concerted campaigns and advertising of tickets ahead of their clash with what is perhaps Africa’s best side, the supporters seemed resigned to the fact that their team’s African sojourn had come to an end.
If Popa’s desire was to advance to the quarter finals of the champions’ league competition, the loss to Al Ahly has now turned the dream into an insurmountable mountain.
The country’s most successful club, Popa is left with a home match against Tunisia’s Esperance and away match KCCA to conclude the group stages matches. For Rollers to qualify they will need to win all the remaining matches with the hope that Ah Ahly loses its two remaining matches. Esperance is leading the group with 10 points, followed by Al Ahly 7 points and Rollers and KCA is third and fourth respectively with 3 points each.
Still with Rollers, the team has suspended goalkeeper Mampule Masule for alleged poor performance during the team’s humiliating loss to Al Ahly in the two teams’ first encounter in Egypt.
It is rumored that the coach attacked the goalkeeper and blamed him for the defeat. It is said that following this attack on him, Masule then missed training at one point and the coach did not hesitate to suspend him from playing.
Recently Masule went for trials in South Africa without the knowledge of the club and he did not make the cut and came back. According to sources the player is not happy and not sure whether the coach will need him in the coming season.