Township Rollers take a 50km trip down west this afternoon determined to bury their Flamengo Santos hoodoo in a Be MOBILE Premier League game at the Molepolole Sports Stadium – not least because they need a pick-me-up following a horrendous start to the season.
Although Smart money is on Mapalastina, the Gaborone giants are bound to be uncomfortably aware of their record against Santos.
Though they struggled for most part of the previous season, Santos managed to collect six points from Rollers. In the first round, they registered a 2-1 win before completing the double with a 1-0 win at the same venue they are meeting this afternoon. If there is one man who is looking forward breaking the Santos jinx, it is Rollers’ striker Gofaone Tiro who joined the Gaborone giants at the beginning of the campaign from Santos.
Ironically it was Tiro who brought down Mapalastina in the first round last season scoring one of the goals in the process. He missed the second round match because of suspension. And now he is the man strongly tipped to break the sequence. “It was always a big occasion facing Rollers and we all wanted to do well. I have no doubt that Santos’ players are feeling the same this time around. This game puts pressure on me because I have never played for any team apart from Santos in my life before joining Rollers,” said Tiro. He pointed out that they intend to collect maximum against Santos considering that they have had a slow start to the season. In the three games Rollers have played so far, Tiro has featured in two games against Extension Gunners and Notwane. Both games he came on as a substitute, a decision which has left Rollers’ supporters wondering why he is not given a run. “If given a chance, I will prove to the technical team that I deserve to be in the team. I have no problem sitting on the bench because I’m still trying to adjust to Rollers’ set-up. It is a big task to play for a big team like Rollers because there is a lot of pressure. But I think with time I’ll get there and start banging goals,” he continued. The Gulubane-born striker said he is grateful to play under head coach Madinda Ndlovu who has been very supportive. “He (Ndlovu) has told me why I have not started the previous games. I’m working hard to get where he wants me.” Santos’ assistant coach Kgosietsile Mampori is not worried about facing Rollers. He said that there is no need to motivate his youngsters when they face bigger sides.
“Our team is totally new and we’re trying to come up with the right combinations. But against Rollers our job will be cut because the boys need no motivation,” he said. Santos will be playing their first home game having played all the previous four games away. Santos have managed to win one game with the other three ending in defeats.