GU AIMING TO POP POPA’S 2-0 BUBBLE
Capital crunch take two will play out at the National Stadium on Saturday when Gaborone United ‘host’ Township Rollers in the second leg of the Mascom Top 8 semi-finals.
Having been outplayed by the defending champions when the sides met in Molepolole a fortnight ago, meekly surrendering to a 2-0 defeat, GU have it all to do if they are to turn the tie around.
However, despite the daunting deficit and his failure to get the fixture moved from the ‘bumpy’ National Stadium pitch, GU Coach Phillimon Makhwengwe believes his side can still progress to the final.
Like Rollers, Moyagoleele are looking to win the tournament for a record-breaking third time and Makhwengwe is adamant that remains a distinct possibility.
“It is possible to surpass the previous result because we can also score two goals in 90 minutes, so of course it’s possible,” reiterated the former Prisons XI man, who maintained that wining in football is not all about preparation but rather the transmission of plans and the players’ mentality.
“We are going into this game with a different approach, being aggressive and combative. We are going to play without caution because we are chasing the game!” continued Makhwengwe.
The experienced tactician was quick to voice his displeasure that the tie was being played at the National Stadium, whose substandard playing surface has come in for severe criticism in recent months.
“I am under pressure, I am trailing and we have asked to change venue because the National Stadium field is bumpy but BPL refused. It is also not our home ground so I will be playing ‘home’ away and I can’t be able to express myself better there!”
Refusing to use this as an excuse, however, Makhwengwe added defiantly, “I don’t want to be cry baby so I will deliver.”
To add to the Money Machine’s woes, they will be without their marauding right-back Tshepo Maikano. The tough-tackling defender is currently suspended after being sent off in a recent league game.
Labeling the fixture a ‘must win’ encounter, GU captain Alphonse Modisaotsile said they know exactly what to expect from their illustrious opponents.
He boldly declared that the anything can happen in a derby and warned Rollers ‘not to get comfortable!’
For his part, Popa Coach Rodolfo Zapata admitted it would be an emotional meeting and revealed he has mixed feelings at facing his old club in such an important game.
Zapata has never won the Top 8 before and will be desperate to claim his first piece of silverware in Botswana.
With a two-goal advantage, both the Argentine and Mapalastina are perfectly poised to move one step closer to making that happen.