Rollers blow apart Orapa to go top
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE- ORAPA United arrived in the capital for the top of the table duel on Friday night brimming with justified confidence.
The diamond-mining town side had made the long 500-kilometre trip with soaring hopes of continuing their fine start to the season, which had seen them go 16 games unbeaten.
The sparkling start had set coach, Madinda Ndlovu’s side two points clear ahead of Rollers.
But Rollers had a cunning plan to stop the miners from ploughing further ahead in the BTC Premiership title race.
Rollers put on arguably their best display since the season started as they blew away the surprisingly meek Ostriches to run away 4-1 winners.
The defending champions were up and running early thanks to unlikely sources, right back Simisani Mathumo and central defender, Mosha Gaolaolwe who gave Popa a 2-0 half time cushion.
Rollers were seemingly running away with a tie but were briefly halted when former Vasco Da Gama striker, Omaatla Kebatho halved the deficit soon after resumption.
But that proved mere consolation as further goals from Edwin Moalosi and former Maritzburg and Platinum Stars attacker, Terrence Mandaza vanquished any hopes of a comeback.
Rollers impressively closed out the game and smashed Orapa United’s unbeaten record to move to 28points after 17 matches.
Victorious coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, who was Ndlovu’s assistant at Rollers two seasons back, said the game was won in midfield.
“The plan was to take the game to Orapa and see how they would react. We played short passes and avoided long balls. We won the game in the midfield,” Mpote said.
His opposite number, Ndlovu admitted they did not turn up and were deservedly beaten.
“You don’t come to the party, you get this kind of results. No individual is to be blamed, but the whole team. As a team, we will go back home, sit down and see where it went wrong,” Ndlovu said.
But Ndlovu has been given an immediate opportunity for revenge as the two sides meet in the first leg of the Mascom semi-final in Francistown on Friday.
After the defeat, Orapa plunged to fourth position with 25 points after holding the lead for lengthy periods. Elsewhere, Mochudi Centre Chiefs rescued a point in a 2-2 draw against BDF XI while there was drama in Lobatse where deputy sheriffs pounced on troubled giants, Extension Gunners in a bid to confiscate the team’s playing kit.
However, talks with club officials averted the embarrassment but the match against Police XI kicked off 35 minutes late owing to the incident.