MAGOSI TARGET ‘ROLLERS DOUBLE’
Mochudi Centre Chiefs will be looking to complete an unlikely double when they take on league leaders Township Rollers at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Magosi have endured a turbulent season – their worst in many a year.
Undermined by off-field money woes and unpaid players boycotting training, the one memorable moment in an otherwise forgettable season for the Kgatleng giants was their 3-2 victory over bitter rivals Popa back in November.
Currently languishing in ninth position, a staggering 18 points behind table-topping Rollers, Chiefs have no chance of adding to their four Premier League titles – a total that includes three championships in the last five seasons.
However, as far as Magosi are concerned, if they can’t lift the trophy themselves, then stopping Mapalastina from retaining the crown is the next best thing.
A repeat of their unlikely triumph earlier in the season could go a long way to achieving that.
Three points would also end a four game winless streak for Magosi, who have not tasted victory since a 5-1 thrashing of basement side Green Lovers and are in real danger of missing out on qualification for next year’s Mascom Top 8.
In contrast to Magosi’s misery, Rollers have not lost in the league since Chiefs beat them – a result that sparked a 14 game unbeaten run, in which miserly Mapalastina conceded just five goals.
Indeed Popa have only lost one other BTC Premiership encounter all season, a 1-0 defeat to BDF XI.
Intriguingly, despite their apparent good form, Rollers have stuttered in recent weeks. The 13-time champions have been held to 1-1 draws in their last three outings – a sequence of scores that has seen their lead at the top cut from six points to zero.
With eight games left to play, they are now level on points with surprise package Jwaneng Galaxy – leading the log courtesy of a superior goal difference over this season’s Mascom Top 8 champions.
Talking to Voice Sport on the eve of Saturday’s fixture, Rollers coach Teenage Mpote bemoaned his side’s recent failure to convert their chances.
Nevertheless, the coach remained characteristically upbeat, saying, “We registered three consecutive draws against Gunners, Orapa and Miscellaneous which is worrisome but I am happy that we did not lose.”
Ever the philosopher, Mpote went on to say, “Draws are part of the game. The competition is tough and we cannot expect to win every match. People should know that as the defending champions every team you meet comes prepared and players want to prove themselves. Playing Miscellaneous was not easy because they are desperately fighting to avoid relegation.”
The Blues will be without first choice goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe, who is serving a one-match suspension after he picked up a yellow card against Miscellaneous last week – the Zebra number one’s third caution of the season.
However, Mpote revealed that Mogogi Gabonamong and Talk Talk Motlhabankwe, who have been out injured in recent weeks, are now fit and available for selection.
As for Chiefs, the club’s Public Relations Officer and Vice Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi warned Rollers to prepare for a tough game.
Mogomotsi was adamant that his club’s financial problems have not hampered their preparations for Saturday’s clash.
“Despite our financial challenges, we are party spoilers and Rollers should not expect that it will work to their advantage.
“We do not have money and our players understand. They are very committed and looking forward to playing Rollers. Preparations for the game are going well, we resumed training on Monday and everyone is taking part,” said Mogomotsi, adding that the club’s hierarchy were working ‘around the clock’ to ensure the players are paid by the end of the week.
Chiefs and Rollers is a fixture steeped in history. Saturday’s 8 o’clock meeting marks the latest intriguing chapter in their rivalry – and there is much to play for!