TOWNSHIP ROLLERS THUMP HAPLESS ORAPA UNITED TO BE CROWNED THE 2018 MASCOM TOP 8 CHAMPIONS
Defensive shambles and lack of creativity and commitment conspired to render Orapa United toothless as Township Rollers emphatically thumped them 4-2 in the Mascom Top 8 final duel played at the Francistown Sport Complex on Saturday afternoon.
REPORT BY JOE-BROWN TLHASELO
There was no stopping Rollers as they bolted early towards their second Top 8 crown having won the inauguaral edition back in 2012. Rollers were playing their fifth finsl of the tournament that has spanned seven seasons.
Rollers' statement of intent was made as early as the 10th minute when they scored their first goal through a strike from Lemponye Tshireletso with Edwin Moalosi scoring the second goal only 10 minutes later to make it 2-0 at recess. Rollers would continue where they had left off in the second half, taking advantage of Orapa United's sustained defensive blunders to score their third goal in the 56th minute through Bogosi Nfila who had come from the bench in the 35th minute to replace the injured second goal scorer, Moalosi. Moalosi would lare be reported to have suffered a broken arm although he was able to receive his medal with just a bandage on the affected arm.
Rollers made sure of the crown in the 65th minute when Kaone Vanderwesthuizen also came from the bench to score their fourth goal. At the time, it was all done and dusted and the resultant temporary lapse on the Rollers' side saw United pull back two goals through Omaatla Kebatho in the 71st minute and Onkabetse Makgantai in the 82nd minute. Desperate times had set in on the part of United with substitute Ronald Chikomo being sent off via a straight red card in the 80th minute after launching a dangerous tackle on Rollers' goal keeper Keeagile Kgosipula.
It was a disappointing display from Orapa United whose usually raucous supporters were subdued for the entire match especially after Tshireletso's goal. The supporters had earlier painted Francistown orange when in their several fully-loaded buses they traversed the city streets with song, dance and horn. They too should have been shocked by their team's dismal performance that betrayed the hype and air of anticipation that had preceded the match. United looked disjointed and seemed to lack motivation and the drive for the crown of the most lucrative football competion in the country.
From the bench, instructions were haphazard, coming from two coaches in head coach Bongani Mafu and his assistant Daniel Nare whose instructions seemed to add to the confusion on the pitch. Nare has over the earlier stages of the tournament presided as Orapa United coach until they reached the finals. Mafu only came in to take charge in Saturday's final, prompting some fuming supporters to blame their loss on the changed coaching hands. Orapa United only started showing up after the introduction in the second half of Gift Moyo and Chikomo. Their entry into the match added pace and intent into their game and helped open up Rollers' defence, leading to their two late consolation goals.
Mafu described their loss as "self-inflicted pain," adding that his side was from the onset put under pressure by Rollers and never recovered. "They got off the mark very fast, they came at us, they pressed us high and they forced mistakes out of us," the coach said after the match. "It is a learning curve, and with the squad that we have, the future looks bright," Mafu said, adding that he was full of admiration for Chikomo's attitude and wishing every player played like him. "He got that red card because he carried this game in his heart, he really wanted it badly but in the end it was a rough and dangerous tackle, and he deserved the red card."
Captain Maano Ditshupo was crowned Man of the Match, winning himself P4000 while his club pocketed P1 300 000. Rollers jet off to Tanzania on Sunday for their Tuesday CAF Champions League encounter against Young Africans.
TOWNSHIP ROLLERS: Keagile Kgosipula 23; Tshepo Motlhabankwe 8; Simisani Mathumo 5; Mosha Gaolaolwe 4; Galabgwe Moyana 10; Motsholetsi sikele 28; Ofentse Nato 20; Maano Ditshupo 22; Segolame Boy 11; Lemponye Tshireletso 12; Edwin Moalosi 7 Reserves: Bogosi Mfila 9; Tshepo Matete 187; Ivan Ntege 15; Kaone Vanderwesthuizen 15; Gape Mohutsiwa 6; Thato Bolweleng 2; Mwampule Masule 1
ORAPA UNITED: Mosimanegape Robert 1; Thabang Mosige 6; Olekantse Mambo 24; Kealeboga Molebatsi 28; Lesenya Ramoraka 44; Tapiwa Nyamanjiva 20; Baboloki Makhura 19; Kobamelo Kebaikanye 11; Onkabetse Makgantai 14; Tendai Nyumasi 10; Omaatla Kebatho 13; Reserves: Kaelo Joseph 31; Lemogang Maswena 18; Obonye Moswate 22; Patrick Lenyeletse 9; Gift Moyo 8; Kabo Mungabe 23; Ronald Chikomo 7
REFEREE: Joshua Bondo