Orange FA Cup heats up
Eight will be whittled down to four this weekend as knockout football comes out to play and the Orange FA Cup quarter-finals lead the way.
With no lower league teams left in the lucrative cup competition, where a P800, 000 payout awaits the victors, this year’s quarters will be an all premier affair.
The undoubted highlight of the round sees league leaders Jwaneng Galaxy host their diamond town brothers, Orapa United.
Fresh from a 2-1 defeat to BDF XI at the weekend, in what was just their second loss of the season, Galaxy will be cautiously confident of returning to winning way and progressing against an Orapa side crippled by injuries.
In red-hot league form, having fired in 17 goals in their last four matches, the Boys from Boteti needed penalties to overcome Extension Gunners in the last round.
Coach, Tawurayi Magwiro will once again have to do without the services of top scorer, Omaatla ‘Dunga’ Kebatho, 29, who has been out of action for three weeks with a toe injury.
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Both Thato Seagateng and Brian Lekwape will join the 20-goal forward on the sidelines, forcing Magwiro to shuffle his pack.
For Galaxy, Thabang Sesinyi, who has 17 goals to his name this season, is expected to lead the line as Morena Ramoreboli’s side go all out for the league/cup double.
Interestingly, neither marksman has managed a goal in the FA Cup thus far, with Matabele FC’s Kemoreng Batsani and Township Rollers’ Mogakolodi Ngele leading the pack with three goals each.
Ngele will have the chance to add to his tally, with Popa in action against last year’s runners-up, Security Systems at the National Stadium.
The defending champions, seeking a third successive Orange Cup crown, face struggling Mogoditshane Fighters at the VTM Arena.
GU have been taken to penalties in the previous two outings, requiring spot-kicks to knock out both Eleven Angels and then CrackIt City Polar.
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Moyagoleele go into the Fighters fixture without Head Coach, Pontsho Moloi, Team Manager, Owe Mmolawa and Tshepho Digangwa, who were all sent off in the 1-0 loss to Nico United on Saturday – a result that dealt a body blow to their hopes of catching Galaxy (the gap stands at seven points with five games to play).
The trio let their emotions boil over, with Moloi seeing red for insulting the ref, while Mmolawa and Digangwa allegedly confronted the man-in-the-middle, accusing him of making poor decisions and reportedly threatening to beat him up.
Fighters, meanwhile, who look almost certain to be relegated after two seasons in the top flight, will go into the game with no fear, knowing they have nothing to lose and everything to gain against GU.
The quarter-finals then climax on Sunday, with 2021 finalists, Masitaoka welcoming BDF to the Molepolole Sports Complex.
All games will be played at 1500hrs.