The ghetto crucifix

Kabelo Dipholo
SEEKING REVENGE: Eleven Angels looking to beat Popa

Will Angels rise as Popa rolls the dice?

A day after the commemoration of Jesus’ crucifixion, Eleven Angels are set to rise in search of three valuable points when they clash with Township Rollers at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium.

In the two teams’ last encounter on 18th October last year, the Gaborone giants were convincing winners, rolling over the visiting Francistowners 3-1 at the Royal Aria Stadium.

It was the Gaborone club’s first win over Angels, following a 1-1 stalemate in their two previous meeting.

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Despite a glaring disparity in both financial power, league log standings and history, Angels Head Coach Seemo Mpatane believes the time could be right for his youthful side to claim a very big scalp.

“If we follow the results pattern between the two teams, we should win on Saturday,” said Mpatane.

Buoyed by his team’s impressive results since the start of the second round, ‘De Rossi’ as he’s known in football circles said Rollers who’re on a five match winning streak could be stopped dead on their tracks in the Ghetto.

“The fact that they’ve been winning games can work to our advantage. Complacency from one or two players will always offer us a little opening for an upset,” said Mpatane.

Since the start of the second round Angels have won two of their home games; a convincing 2-0 over Security Systems at the start of February, and a hard fought 3-2 win against Morupule Wanderers.

Angels then played to a 2-all draw, 1-1 and 0-0 away to Masitaoka, Police XI and Sua Flamingoes respectively.

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“Our home record is good, and that’s what we’re bringing to this Saturday fixture,”warned Mpatane.

Currently sitting 10th with 19 points from 18 matches, Angels are just three points above the relegation zone, something Mpatane is well aware of.

“We’re fighting for survival and Rollers are fighting for the championship,” he said.

“This is a victory that could completely change our season. Beating one of the biggest teams for the first time, and possibly breaking into the Top 8 for the first time this season will energise us for the rest of the season,”Mpatane told Voice Sport.

However if it’s victory that he wants for his Angels, Mpatane and team will have to give a 120 percent to stop coach Innocent Morapedi’s rolling train.

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The tactician is quick to state that he was not in charge when Rollers drew twice against Angels during the 2022/23 season.

Coming in after the club had lost the financial backing of former club President Jagdish Shah, Morapedi and his technical team seem to have steadied the ship.

Rolers have shaken off their township blues, and have raised a hand as one of the title contenders with 12 matches left to play.

The tactician said his charges already know what to expect in Francistown.

“They’re going to come at us. Their supporters will push them. They’re young and will run for 90 minutes,” Morapedi said.

The coach further said, luckily for them as one of the most supported teams, any potential hostile environment is immediately neutralised by their hordes of fans.

“Our supporters usually win the battle at the stands, and that filters down to the pitch,”said Morapedi.

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“It’s Easter weekend. We don’t want to be crucified,….we want to crucify,” he added nonchalantly.

The coach stated that they’re chasing every silverware available, and that his players are well aware that talent and skill alone are not enough to win a match, but character, team spirit, desire and drive.

“For the many years I’ve been a coach I can’t tell you a system or formation of play that can win the league, it all boils down to attitude. It is contagious, and if our senior players shows the right attitude, all others will follow, and that’s how matches are won,” Morapedi told Voice Sport.

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His sentiments were shared by Popa’s Public Relations Officer Pako Lebanna who said they are focused on keeping the momentum and putting pressure on log leaders Jwaneng Galaxy.

Popa are currently second with 43 points, a point behind Galaxy who have a game in hand.

The Jwaneng outfit are away to bottom placed Nico United on the same day.

Depending on other results, a win for Majombolo could take them out of the drop zone for the first time this season, while defeat for the Gala Nation will put a dent on their ambition, and slightly diminish their one game in hand advantage.

Thousands of supporters who follow football religiously are expected to fill up the 26 000 capacity Obed Itani Chilume Stadium to bear witness to a holy battle between Angels and the flaming blue rollers from a Gaborone township.

Kick-off is 1600hrs.

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