Monday, February 26, 2024

Rollers vie for historic victory

Township Rollers will this coming Saturday be looking for a historic win over the South African side, Kaizer Chiefs, at the National Stadium for the CAF Champions league encounter. No Botswana team has ever defeated a South Africa team in 90 minutes of play and Rollers would want to break that jinx. The first and only time a Botswana side managed to defeat a South African side, was in 2008 when Gaborone United won by an away goal rule. Both sides played to a goalless draw in Gaborone and drew by two all in the return league in Port-Elizabeth.

On the other hand Rollers lost the first leg by two goals to one and they need to at least win by a solo goal provided Chiefs do not score. If the much fancied South African side manages to score, it means Rollers have to at least win by more than two goals. Already Rollers have shown that they can outdo the South Africans in almost all departments when they nearly grabbed a draw in the away first leg. Both teams were destined for a one all draw in the first leg in Johannesburg until Chiefs grabbed the winner on stoppage time via Tefu Mashamaite. Buoyed by the expected large and vociferous crowd at the National Stadium, Chiefs might find the going tough against ‘Mapalastina’ as Rollers are fondly known. Chiefs on the other hand are once again expected to field their possible strong squad against Rollers.

Over the weekend they rested some of their big name players in the Nedbank cup match against a low division team EDU Sports and their coach, Stuart Baxter made it clear that it was a sign of declaring a total warfare on Rollers. Meanwhile by press time Rollers reported a clean bill of health. The spokesperson of the team, Phempheretlhe Pheto told The Telegraph Sports that the players are already in high spirits for the match. “All our players that played against Chiefs in the first leg are available and raring to go for the encounter. They are ready for the encounter to make the country happy,” he said. Rollers on the other hand will once again be missing four of their key players who were not registered on time by the Botswana Football Association. The players are Dirang Moloi, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Tshepo Motlhabankwe and Noah Maposa.

The tickets for the match are reported to be selling fast. Pheto told Telegraph Sports that they have already printed 16 000 tickets as of Monday. “The National Stadium can accommodate up to 22 000 and we decided to print only 16 000 in case there is the possibility of a stampede. Most tickets were in demand and we had to spread them across several places around the country. We sent them to places like Francistown, Selibe Phikwe and even Maun,” he said. Chiefs are expected home on Friday morning and kickoff is 3pm.


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