Township Rollers are still in an uncomfortable position despite defeating Mogoditshane Fighters by a solitary goal on Thursday. Rollers have played more games than other teams and have only 16 points under their belt. This then means that with the exception of Jwaneng Comets and Nico United all other teams below Rollers have chances of leapfrogging them. Also if Rollers are harbouring hopes of challenging for the league honours they have to win almost all their second round matches. Since the beginning of this season, Rollers have been struggling. In most of the games they played they displayed good carpet football only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The loss many people see as the fairest was the 3-0 score line against high-riding Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Even though it was the first game of the season, Chiefs had an upper hand throughout the game and their goals were perfect. Things started going rosy in their second away game against ‘Boteti Young Fighters.’ Rollers led by two goals only to let Boteti come back with only 14 minutes remaining. Then followed sad losses against Francistown teams of Tasc and Ecco City Green. The two teams thumped Rollers 1-0 and 2-1 respectively. Against Tasc, Rollers were in control for the entire game but the Tango Boys utilised the only chance they had. Against Ecco. Rollers took the lead only to let Ecco score two late goals.
In the 3-1 loss against Extension Gunners, Rollers were dreadful and conceded goals through school boy blunders. The tide has since turned a little, especially in the past three games, because Rollers were not actually playing the football they are renowned for. It all started in their 3-2 defeat against Tafic and a goalless draw against BDF XI. Although Rollers won against Fighters, the Brazilians were generally the better team of the day and their main undoing was the poor finishing. Led by three veterans, Barney Marman, Masego Nchingane and Anthony Molamu, Fighters easily disposed of Rollers, especially in midfield where Under 23 anchorman Amos ‘Shoes’ Godirwang did damage for Nchingane.
Rollers, however, improved in their defence which was marshaled by Boniface ‘Zolo’ Makolo. Makolo was playing in a new role as a sweeper and thwarted many dangerous balls. Patrick Kasongo has brought stability in the midfield, especially with his defence splitting passes. The main undoing is that Rollers wingers seem to be struggling with his quick passes which normally find no body waiting. With quickest wingers such as Kaone Molefhe and Thapelo Balepi, Rollers can maul the teams once their combination correlates with Kasongo. The only goal for Rollers was scored by Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping from the penalty spot after Sekhana ‘Chicken’ Koko was brought down inside the box.
Many football experts have since called for Rollers to go for a rightful spending spree. In the last transfer window, Rollers bought several top players, but the argument is that many of them were not the right material for the team. The player who always leads the Rollers attack is Zambian striker Bernard Simakwenzi. When starved of needed passes, Simakwenzi even goes to the extent of reverting to the midfield to collect the balls himself. In most cases when he drops back a little bit, the striking force suffers. Other top strikers, like Jomo Moatlhaping and Onalethata Thekiso, are yet to show the form they are renowned for. Last season both players were in scintillating form and Thekiso went to the extent of scoring a hat-trick against Ecco City Green in a league encounter.
Moalthaping, on the other hand, was also a new revelation at South African side, Silver Stars, where he also scored some crucial goals. Rollers management is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead for the team. With the new sponsorship of P200 000 from local company Caratex Botswana, coupled with P150 000 from Orange, the team management has promised to reinforce the team.
Somereset Gobuiwang, Managing Director of the team, told Sunday Standard that they want to make Rollers a force to reckon with.
“We are thankful of the Caratex efforts to empower the local teams; we are grateful of their help and hopefully it will go a long way. I can promise that in the next transfer window we will go into the transfer market to reinforce the team,” he said.