Sunday, April 18, 2021

Rollers retain the league title

Township Rollers successfully retained the Be MOBILE Premier League title after consigning Nico United to a 3-1 defeat at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Over the years, it has proven to be difficult for a team to defend the league title but Rollers broke the 17-year record set by Gunners.

Gunners won the league title in three consecutive years in 1992, 93 and 94 and since then it has not been easy for other teams. Rollers went into the game needing just a single point to wrap up the championship after their nearest rivals, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, were held to a 1-1 draw by Extension Gunners the previous night.

Rollers have amassed 70 points from 28 games and this means that their games against Gunners and Black Peril would just be a formality.

The day belonged to Mapalastina as they made sure that nothing would stop them from winning the title.

Though it was not a brilliant display from Rollers on the day, what matters most is that they managed to achieve their goal. Rollers suffered an early setback when Tendai Ndoro pounced from inside the box in the third minute. This was after Rollers’ makeshift defence of Kgomari Mothuba and Amos Godirwang failed to clear the line allowing the Zimbabwean striker to easily beat goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe.

The stadium went into a complete silence as Nico seemed to have come to Molepolole to spoil the party.

In the midfield, Nico’s Topo Piet neutralized his more fancied opponents Powell Abednico and Lawrence Majawa. Piet covered a lot of space, leaving Rollers’ supporters wondering if they will have to wait for another day to see their heroes lifting the title.

Rollers’ stand-in captain, Onalethata Tshekiso, had other thoughts as he brought his side back into the game in the 19th minute.

The big centre-forward hammered a low 40m drive, which sailed into the net, leaving goalkeeper Kabelo Joseph sprawled on the turf. The noise which followed the goal was deafening.

Nico started to panic, especially the two centre-backs, Monametsi Kelebale and Thulani Moyo.

On the left, Musonda Mweuku gave Nico’s right-back Kitso Kowa a torrid time, leaving him for dead several times. It did not come as a surprise when Mweuku scored the second goal in the 41st minute to ensure a 2-1 lead at the break.

Mapalastina wrapped up the game five minutes after restart when Mweuku headed home his second of the game. Except brilliant performance from Piet, Majombolo failed to come to the party.

Meanwhile, the battle against relegation continued at the weekend and it seems it will take the last two rounds to know which two sides partner Black Peril to the lower division.

Three northern sides TASC, Motlakase and Miscellaneous are involved in a tough battle against survival.

Miscellaneous did the unexpected when they hammered Uniao Flamengo Santos 4-1 at the Selebi-Phikwe Stadium on Saturday.

The result has boosted the Serowe side’s confidence ahead of the remaining fixtures against Police XI (away) and TASC (home).

It was their second highest scoring game this season after they rattled the net five times against Motlakase in Francistown early this year. Miscellaneous have leapfrogged from 15th spot, which they have occupied for some time to the 14th position with 23 points.

Motlakase, who were Coca-Cola Cup finalists, did not do themselves any favours as they surrendered a 2-0 lead to end up sharing the spoils with ECCO City Greens. 

Mojamorago Radiphophi and Owen Baruti had given the Palapye side a two goal advantage in the opening 15 minutes but ECCO fought gallantly to score through substitute Bonolo Fraiser and Mandlaenkosi Sibanda in the second half.  

If they have ambitions of playing in the Premier League next season, Motlakase have to beat TAFIC (away) and Nico United (home) in their remaining fixtures. 

The draw dropped Motlakase to the 15th position with 21 points. TASC were also involved in a stalemate as they held Notwane to a 2-2 draw at the Police College in Otse.

TASC welcome Gaborone United in Francistown this coming weekend before wrapping up their campaign with a tricky duel against Miscellaneous in Selebi Phikwe on May 21.

TASC are hovering on the 13th spot with 24 points and have a better chance of surviving the chop if they collect maximum points in their two games. Black Peril, whose fate has long been finalized, has to play for pride in their remaining games against Chiefs and Rollers.

Mochacho conceded 11 goals in their first round games against these two giants and it will be interesting to see how they fare this time around. They are sitting at the bottom of the table with only 15 points.

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