Ruthless Rollers send out warning in Wednesday win
Township Rollers’ impressive start to the season gathered momentum on Wednesday night, as the blue nation swept aside Eleven Angels with ruthless efficiency to send a warning to the rest of the league: Popa are back and mean business!
The hunt for a first league title since 2019 has got off to the perfect start for Rollers, who followed up their opening day success against Masitaoka with a 3-1 victory over Angels at the Royal Aria Stadium in midweek.
With Holy Ghost up next for Mapalastina on Saturday, few would bet against Innocent Morapedi’s men extending their winning run to three in a row.
Having been held to draws in their twin meetings with Seemo Mpatane’s minnows last season, there was again little to separate the two sides in the early stages in Tlokweng.
That all changed on the cusp of half-time.
Two days on from his recall to the national team, where he featured as a substitute in a 2-1 triumph over Eswatini, veteran midfielder, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele popped up with the crucial opening goal.
Entering the twilight years of a glittering career, the 33-year-old has been excellent in the heart of the Popa midfield since retracing his steps to Rollers at the start of last season.
His 43rd minute header changed the course of the game, forcing Angels, who had looked solid up until then, to come out after the break with a more adventurous mindset.
Although Mpatane’s youngsters thrive on attacking football, it left them exposed at the back. Rollers took full advantage.
Nine minutes after the restart, Motsholetsi Sikele doubled the home team’s advantage. With their very next attack, they made it 3-0, Segolame Boy putting the game beyond the visitors with a trademark finish in the 56th minute.
Much credit must go to Angels, who never stopped trying and got the consolation goal their hard-work deserved through Tebogo Ishmael in the dying minutes of the encounter.
Reflecting on another precious three points, Coach Morapedi praised his team for sticking to the game plan against a tricky opponent.
“We came into the game with one mission of collecting maximum points. This is the team that is known to be a tough opponent for us, and I told my players not to dwell on the history.”
The gaffer, who took over from Sergio Traguil in the summer, added they took the lead at the perfect time.
“Scoring before half-time boosts morale and gives us a breather so it was important for us to score. I always tell them before the game that we should win our first half and they did it. I don’t want to comment on the goal we conceded, our goalkeeper coach will address that during training,” said Morapedi.
His opposite number in the dugout, Mpatane insisted he was not too disheartened by the result, noting his boys more than matched their illustrious opponents for much of the 90 minutes.
“It was disappointing in the manner that we conceded, and it happened again last week. We had to change the game plan unfortunately early in the second half they scored two quick goals from our mistake. They brought in good players because they have a big squad of quality players. We scored, unfortunately time was not on our side and we look forward to the next game,” said Mpatane, whose Angels continue their search for a first win on Sunday, when they return to Francistown for their first home game of the campaign, against a BDF XI eleven yet to concede this season.