Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rollers shift their attention to the Coca-Cola Cup

Most of the attention in local football is on the Premier League, where Rollers are on the verge of winning the championship.

They are in scintillating form and it looks like no team will stand in their way. This coming weekend, Rollers will shift their focus onto the lucrative Coca Cola tournament, in which they take on Mogoditshane Fighters in the semi-finals.

In other semi-finals, Mochudi Centre Chiefs will take on Extension Gunners. Stakes will be high in the Rollers/Fighters encounter because pride will be at stake.

Rollers are the only team to have won the Coca-Cola Cup more than any other team.
They won it a record four times.
Fighters, on the other hand, have won it three times, meaning a loss by Rollers means that Fighters might close in on them.

Rollers will not want Fighters to come too close to them because they want to stretch their wins to five.

Rollers won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1993, 94, 96 and 2005, while Fighters lifted it in 1999, 2000 and 2003.
What gives Rollers an advantage is that Fighters are competing in the First Division and are struggling to make it to the top.

Rollers will also be boasted by experience in their team. Rollers have all the players a coach would want to have.

What, however, might work for Fighters is the fact that cup matches are different from league games.

Fighters surprised many people when they knocked out Botswana’s darling in the CAF Championship League, Gaborone United 2-1.

Both teams are using mainly new players and those who triumphed with them in their glory years are either retired or joined other teams.

At Rollers, the two players who tasted the 2005 glory are Khomari Mothuba and Thapelo Balepi.
Fighters, on the other hand, have Charles Mositwane, who scored a brace when they knocked out Gaborone United in the quarter finals.

Generally, Rollers would have no one to blame but themselves if they fall to Fighters.
The game between Gunners and Centre Chiefs will also have a lot at stake because both teams are chasing Rollers in the league and hoping for the second spot position in the league.
Gunners also won the inaugural Coca-Cola tournament in 1992 and since then they have never won the tournament save to reach the finals on two occasions.

They would want to progress to the finals and win it for the second time in their history.
Centre Chiefs, on the other hand, won the Coca-Cola Cup three seasons ago after thumping Uniao Flamengo Santos 5-2 and would also want to progress to the finals and, ultimately, win it since the league championship seems to be eluding them every week.

Their hope of retaining the tournament last season was dashed by the same Santos who knocked them out in the quarter finals.

Chiefs see the Coca-Cola Cup as their only consolation because a failure to capture that trophy will mean a dry season for them.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.