Ever since Tshepho Molefe’s departure, Township Rollers have never had an out and out attacking midfielder.
Lesego Molemogi, who could have stepped up, was injury prone. A young winger, Edwin Moalosi, was roped in to fill the big shoes but it always shows that the team needs more than just talent; experience and leadership is what Rollers midfield so badly needs.
Tebogo Mothusi, a classy footballer could not have come at a better time, at least that’s what Popa faithful must have thought, not knowing that it would take a malicious tackle to sunset their hopes. Many would remember Mothusi’s spirited performance in their last relegation decider match at Tasc against Notwane. Though Tasc’s chances for survival were slim, there was a chance for the team to survive the dreaded axe but by banking on the outcome of other matches played elsewhere at the time. It was at that match that he revealed he would not be going down with Tasc, attributing their relegation to untidy boardroom ways that kept them in the ditch.
This came as a shock to the football fraternity who couldn’t imagine Tasc without a player who, for many years, gave the team its identity. Some went to the extent of likening his place at Tasc as what Steven Gerrad is to Liverpool.
News of Mothusi’s injury comes as a bitter pill to swallow and from the reaction of the Rollers management, one can easily tell just how much in awe they hold the midfielder’s abilities in turning their fortunes around.
Township Rollers paid all of the player’s medical bills and were immediately willing to send the midfielder to South Africa if he was not going to find better treatment locally. The newly recruited Rollers coach, Rahman Gumbo, will have to make-do with Lesego Molemogi and Edwin Moalosi. The two are also capable.
Moalosi comes as a savvy young footballer who can distribute and take on defenders while Molemogi is a ball distributor who is rather deep but has exceptional match reading abilities and a hard shooting foot that usually blasts home loose balls in front of the eighteenth area.
The signings of talented duo of Terrence Mandaza and Mohammed Chawila should also spur Mapalastina. The pair is skillful and should combine well with Molemogi and Edwin Moalosi and it is likely that Rollers will go for a more passing game characterized by intricate patterns.
In the past, Rollers were feared for their wings and if players like Thapelo Balepi and Thebe Maiketso rise to the occasion a mayhem telegram to other teams will arrive. It is still not clear if Boitumelo Mafoko and Joel Mogorosi will be in blue and golden yellow colours. In their absence, Amos Godirwang is expected to fill Mafoko’s big shoes.
After losing almost all of their rear guard, Cecil Mosojane, Boniface Makolo, Musa Ohilwe and Gabriel Bokhutlo, the team has since secured the services of relatively unknown defenders, among them Jomo Mgadla from Miscellaneous, who has since caught the attention of national team selectors. The defence will be expected to change the reputation of late match goal concessions that has robbed the team countless matches they should have won.
Other players who might turn out to be just as dangerous are Edwin Olerile, Bernard Simakwezi and Monageng Tlhaele.
Unfortunately, of late, Rollers has not been the right place for any player to pick up form.
Jomo Moatlhaping came to Rollers from South Africa where he was doing well only to spend last season warming the bench. Simakwezi also has been firing blanks missing easy chances which he rarely would have missed when at BDF XI.
Given the talent at Gumbo’s disposal, the hard to please Popa fans will be expecting immediate results but for the gaffer, it will be a mountain climb to immediately gel a winning combination and it’s likely that the team will walk shoddy in the early matches of the league. Otherwise Rollers will kick start the league with a better squad than most teams.