The eagerly anticipated Mascom Top 8 semi-finals will take place this weekend with two mouth-watering games. This weekend’s first leg encounters will give all four clubs an opportunity to stamp their authority and gain an advantage ahead of the return fixtures.
Gaborone United, Township Rollers, Nico United and BDF XI will all be eager to make a statement when the country’s most lucrative cup competition resumes. GU are the defending champions who have shown no signs of weakness in their attempt to defend their trophy. Rollers on the other hand have been rejuvenated by the arrival of Madinda Ndlovu and they are aiming to end a two year trophy drought.
Nico United have made an impressive ascendency into the top ranked local clubs in recent years but silverware has eluded them and remains the missing link in their growth in the past three years.
BDF XI have also targeted silverware this season to end a trophy drought that stretches back to 2004. They were the beaten finalists in last year’s competition and they will surely be motivated by the pursuit of vengeance. All four sides have different motives when approaching their semi-final ties; this will intensify the prospect of an entertaining Mascom Top 8 weekend.
Rollers vs GU (25 January, Lobatse Sports Complex, 4pm)
The Gaborone Derby is arguably the biggest tie of the Mascom Top 8 semi-finals as archrivals Gaborone United and Township Rollers renew their rivalry this weekend. The sides met at the same stage of the competition last season where Moyagoleele recorded a comprehensive 6-3 aggregate win to eliminate their rivals.
Both sides have met in the semi final of the competition for three consecutive years; Rollers eliminated the Reds in 2012 on their way to winning the tournament that year. Moyagoleele did likewise last year. The fixture has a good omen in terms of producing the winner of the competition in the past two editions and it remains to be seen if it will do the same this year.
GU midfielder Tebogo Sosome told Gazette Sport that they are eager to beat their rivals. “We are the underdogs because Rollers have been performing well lately. Our aim is to retain our trophy but we have to make sure we eliminate Rollers first. We have a chance to beat them and the confidence within the camp is sky high,” said Sosome.
Nico United vs BDF XI (26 Januray, SSKB, 4pm)
Elijah Chikwanda’s arrival at BDF XI a month after being sacked by Nico will surely add an emotional element to this fixture. The Zambian coach has inherited a side capable of mounting a challenge for the P1 million trophy. He will surely have a point to prove to a side that discarded him midway through the season.
His counterpart, Kenneth Mogae, will be making his coaching debut in the competition. Mogae has been appointed by the club to revive their league season but an impressive cup run could help him erase the memory of Chikwanda in the eyes of Nico’s fans. The two clubs have not been hailed as favourites for the competition but they are both capable of pulling off shock results.