Township Rollers this past weekend successfully defended the Barclays Kabelano Charity Spectacular, putting rivals Mochudi Center Chiefs and the upbeat Extension Gunners to the sword in the process. This spelled Popa’s fifth Kabelano Charity Cup trophy and the club remains the most dominant in the history of the one day tournament.
Strength in depth for Rollers
Last season, one of Rollers’ biggest downfalls which saw them miss out on league success was the side’s limited squad. Despite adding a few new faces in the January transfer window, it was the injury setbacks towards the end of the first round of last season to the defensive pairing of Leutlwetse Tshireletso and Oscar Ncenga that played a huge part in the team’s failure to defend the league honors.
This saw the club roping in a young and inexperienced pair of Bogosing Kaekwa and right back Simisani Mathumo into the heart of defense while midfield kingpin Maano Ditshupo and Lawrence Majawa went week in and week out without a break.
During the weekend, Mark Harrison gave a sneak peak that his side had enough ammunition within their arsenal to power through the season, as he played with two different but equally competitive starting line ups in both fixtures.
JJ looking sharp
After failing to make an instant impact at his new club last season following his loan move from DRC side Don Bosco, Jerome Ramatlhakwane is now beginning to sharp up into a ‘hungry’ striker ready to get a few more goals this season. The former Zebras striker wrote his name in the hearts of many Popa supporters as he proved into a real nuisance for the Gunners defense, netting two goals as a result.
Chiefs still need cover at center back
Despite acquiring the services of Zimbabwean defender Charles Mutero, the defending league champions still have a long way to go if they are to consider their central defense woes a thing of the past. After losing the services of Thabiso Khunwane to Gaborone United ahead of last season, the Kgatleng giants have persisted with the trend of losing another key figure of their defensive team as the team parted ways with Zambian marker, Willboard Mutale at the end of last season.
Going into this past weekend’s contest, Keabetswe Jenamiso and Mutero remained the only two central defenders Magosi relied on at the tournament. With Chiefs set to take part in the CAF Champions League, which could result in the team having to play two games in a space of four days, coach Mike Sithole will need a large pool of players to interchange from.
Gunners look promising
A refurbished Extension Gunners under Pio Paul could be what is in store for many local supporters this season. Despite going down to Rollers, the Peleng giants gave a good account of themselves at the weekend. New signings such as Katlego Masole, Mogomotsi Mokoka and Emmanuel Machinya seem to have absorbed Paul’s philosophy and ready to revive the club’s fortunes.
Rollers supporters a ‘disgrace’ to football
One of the ugliest scenes of this year’s competition came as a result of pitch invasion by supporters after referee Joshua Bondo blew the final whistle of the last encounter of the day. This saw the handing over proceedings temporarily put on hold, as supporters had clouded the entire scene. BFA President Tebogo Sebego was another man who was left disappointed as he looked from the VIP section in disbelief. It now remains to be seen whether the local governing body of football will sound the whip against the club and its supporters.