The 2006 Orange Kabelano Charity Cup champions, Township Rollers, got a rude awakening from South African Premier Soccer League wonder boys, Silver Stars. Rollers got a 2-0 thrashing at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, South Africa, last weekend.
Even though the Botswana side took to the field without Joel “16” Mogorosi, Seabo Gabanakgosi and Tshepiso “Sox” Molwantwa, Rollers were expected to be gallant, and that’s what they were.
The game started at a pedestrial pace with both teams being cautious in their attacks, lest they expose themselves at the back.
In the starting Silver Stars lineÔÇôup was a player who has become synonymous with Rollers over the years – Moemedi “Jomo” Moatlhaping, in his new number 22 jersey.
The former Rollers idol was deployed to operate just behind the Stars lone striker, former Supersport United target man, Dale Studinski.
It was Moatlhaping’s combination with another new recruit, Joel Luphahla of Zimbabwe, that kept the Rollers rearguard of Barry Hangunyu and Cecil Mosojane back pedaling.
Stars started taking the game to Rollers. In one of their charges, Stars’ new signing from Moroka Swallows executed one of his trademark incisive crosses in the box. Hesitation on the part of the Rollers defence to clear the ball timeously saw Studinski setting Kgatla for a cool finish.
On the Rollers’ side, Thapelo Balepi was particularly prominent. In the Rollers engine room was South African Papi Mokena, who caught the eye with his defence splitting passes.
Just before interval, Moatlhaping combined well with Luphahla, bemusing Mosojane and Hangunyu and the Zimbabwean finished with aplomb for the second goal.
At half time, Rollers coach, Madinda Ndlovu, introduced Boitumelo Mafoko for Mokoena. The former Tasc talisman immediately stamped his authority on the game where he was up against an impressive Kgatla.
Mafoko managed to keep shape, thwarting dangerous moves and keeping the Stars midfielders at bay.
Midway in the second stanza, Phenyo Mongala came on for Jabu Nkosi. The former Rollers match winner changed the complexion of the proceedings and Silver stars looked dangerous whenever he was in possession. His marker, Gabriel Bokhutlo, could not deal with him forcing coach Ndlovu to replace him.
After the game, Silver Stars Coach, Owen Da Gama, told Sunday Standard Sport that Rollers were not at their usual best.
“Rollers are not used to playing away. If you want to see the best of them, Silver Stars must come to Gaborone. However, there were some glimpses of brilliance from some of their players. The defender in the number 6 jersey was awesome. He can go places. What I liked about him is that he did the simple things and that is what makes good defenders.
He really gave Dale (Studinski) a hard time,” said Da Gama.
Final Score: Silver Stars 2 Township Rollers 0.