Township Rollers thumped a protesting Mochudi Centre Chiefs 2-0 over the weekend, winning 5ÔÇô1 on aggregate to book a date with Orapa United at the Mascom Top 8 finals.
While the game itself did not live to its billing as a top drawer match, more especially in the first half, it was however not short of drama. The game started a little late as Chiefs launched what may yet be the most dramatic and eccentric protest ever. In a scene reminiscent of a mafia movie deal, spectators and guests were treated to a spectacle as Chiefs team manager Zaahid Jalal strode into the field with a bag full of P10, 000 cash to launch a protest against the use of Ofentse Nato by Rollers. Under the full glare of cameras, Jalal and Match Commissioner Mmoloki Sebeela went on to count the money before the latter stashed it in his pockets.
“I don’t understand Centre Chiefs. They are embarrassing themselves and demeaning Botswana football. They must just let this issue of Ofentse Nato go because it’s really doesn’t do our football any good. Let’s just get back to playing football,” said a clearly miffed Rollers coach, Mark Harrison after the game.
However, Chiefs coach Mike Sithole refused to be drawn into discussing the Nato issue, though he admitted that the protest was affecting his players performance.
“Players are usually the most affected when things go wrong. You could see from their approach to the game and the way they were playing. But I would rather talk about tactics, not about the protest,” Sithole said of the protest drama.
Against their sworn enemies on Saturday, Chiefs played like a team still in protest, plodding through the first half even though they were 3ÔÇô1 behind Rollers from the first leg that was played three weeks ago. The only highlights for ‘Magosi’ in what was an insipid display by both teams were the yellow cards given to captain Pontsho Moloi and full back Ontse Ntesa. Rollers on the other hand made futile attempts to take the game to Chiefs.
Both teams failed to put up any significant effort to test the goalkeepers in the first half and they deservedly went to recess goalless. From recess, it took Rollers just three minutes to take the game further away from Chiefs, courtesy of Joel Mogorosi. Pouncing on a through ball from Gofaone Tiro, the Rollers front man nutmegged the advancing Chiefs keeper Mompoloki Sephekolo and walked the ball into an empty net. Mogorosi then had a hand in his team’s second goal twenty minutes later on the 68th minute, as he made an assist for Maano Ditshupo’s goal. After hitting the upright with his goal attempt, Mogorosi quickly retrieved the rebound and crossed it to Ditshupo, who thumped a shot past Sephekolo to kill off the game. Despite the raft of changes made by both sides in the second half, there would be no further goals as Chiefs lost the game 2-0 and forfeited a chance to make their debut finals.
Rollers: Kabelo Dambe, Galagbwe Moyana, Simisani Mathumo, Mogogi Gabonamong, Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Lawrence Majawa, Nato, Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Tiro, Mogorosi,
Centre Chiefs: Mompoloki Sephekolo, Jabu Pilane, Ntesa, Thato Kebue, K Jenamiso, Lesego Molemogi, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Moloi, Arnold Mampori, Tendai Nyumasi, Lemponye Tshireletso