Saturday, April 4, 2020

Rollers face an unpredictable challenge

d season without a major trophy, something that has not gone down well with their hard to please supporters. The team is also up for another major challenge if they are to finish in a reputable position. Rollers are in ninth spot, a position that does not suit a team of Rollers caliber. Most of the games Rollers are left with are going to be difficult to win and they might find themselves going down to the relegation zone. Most of the teams that are yet to play Rollers are faced with the relegation quagmire, while others are fighting for honours.

Teams like Prisons XI, FC Satmos, and Jwaneng Comets are deep in the relegation zone and any mistake they commit would see them condemned to the First Division. On the other hand BDF XI, Police XI and Gaborone United are gunning for honours. BDF are currently in second position behind Ecco City Green and want to topple them so losing points in their remaining games, including one against Rollers, would be uncalled for. Rollers and BDF XI have since developed a competitive rivalry. BDF XI last year denied Rollers entry into the Coca Cola finals. The reason being that BDF XI appealed the suspension of their player Bernard Simakwenzi, who is alleged to be a defaulter. In the semifinal game, in which Simakwenzi did not feature, Rollers won 3-0 and refused a replay that was ordered latter on. BDF XI were eventually given a passage to the finals and lost 2-1 to Notwane.

What is going to make the game more interesting is that BDF XI beat Rollers 1-0 in the first round encounter, which was very tense. Police XI on the other hand are the defending champions and would like to prove that. After performing badly in the first round, they came back with a bang in the second round. Police are also a team that normally gives Rollers a run for their money. Since re-appearing in the Premier League, Gaborone United (GU) are yet to beat Township Rollers and revive the old rivalries between the two teams. In the past, the two teams used to fill the National Stadium to capacity, and their supporters used to clash before, during and after the games. Currently, GU is on the rise and has been on a winning streak of late after signing some good players from neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Rollers are also going to find Satmos a hard nut to break bearing in mind that the game will be in Selibe-Phikwe. Satmos is renowned as a team that normally survives during the last games, and the Selibe Phikwe stadium is even dubbed the slaughter house. Satmos are trailing the league together with Prisons XI, another team that Rollers never find easy to beat. Prisons XI might have been losing many of their past games but never lost with huge margins and Rollers are in for a bigger challenge. Comets, on the other hand, have not lost a single game in their past five games, a sign that they are also on the rise and do not want history to repeat itself. Comets have a history of staying in the Premier League just for a season after promotion and then getting relegated.

Nevertheless, Township Rollers have also vowed to fight with all they can muster and finish in a respectable position. The Managing Director of the team, Somerset Gobuiwang, told Sunday Standard Sport that they were aware of the great challenges lying ahead for the team and they are prepared.

“If we do not win most of our remaining games, we might find ourselves in the relegation zone and that would be a great disaster. Our team is now back to its winning ways and that has boasted the morale of the players. We also like to finish in respectable position and prove that Rollers are indeed a big team,” he said.

Before beating Tafic 3-2 in Francistown last week, Rollers were a shadow of its former self and lost the games they could have easily won. Rollers are still missing the services of some of their big names who are still nursing injuries. Zambian imports, Edwin Kamwimbwa and Patrick Kasongo, are some of the players on the injury list and who have left a void in the midfield. Before getting injured Kamwimba and Kasongo had a good partnership with strikers such as Onalethata Thekiso.

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