Orapa United were crowned the 2015/16 Mascom Top 8 champions this past weekend at the Francistown Sports Complex after defeating favorites Township Rollers by three goals to one. Gazette Sport reveals four things learned from the final.
Sweet revenge for Ndlovu
“I do not do justice, God does justice,” words of Mandida Ndlovu after referee Tirelo Mositwane blew the final whistle of the game.
The result was very emotional for Ndlovu who was fired by Rollers last season after losing 2-1 to eventual Champions Gaborone United in the final of the same tournament. He still has a chance of winning a double against Rollers with the league still on offer.
Orapa United exposed Rollers defensive problems
When Rollers tasted their second defeat in the league to Gaborone United in February, only a few were quick to pick out a couple of key problematic issues, which included the team’s horrible way of dealing with crosses sent into their keeper’s box which saw Thato Ogopotse profit a goal in the process for GU.
However, the defence defensive duo of Mogogi Gabonanamong and Simisani Mathumo bounced back and Rollers were back to wining games and conceding less. 75 minutes on the clock and a goal up, Rollers looked like a side well on course to win their second Top 8 title. Kealeboga wipe in a cross into the Rollers box from the right hand side, Dambe came out but fails to collected and Mathumo at the back post failed to clear the danger, before Chikomo levels matters with an overhead kick.
The introduction of Thabang Sesinyi and Okanbetse Makgantai were a nightmare to the Rollers defence. Both with feet and ability to burst forward with pace, often saw the Popa center backs with no answers. Makgantai’s classy finish, which saw United go in front was clear evidence of how the player’s brilliance since coming into the field as a sub. 8 minutes before the end of Extra Time sees another cross wiped into the Rollers defensive area but the defence fails in clearing their lines and Sesinyi pops up to double the lead. The goal is another that leaves more questions than answers of Rollers ability to defending crosses.
Teammates pin point Dambe for the loss
After the game, some of Kabelo Dambe’s teammates(names withheld to this publication) accused the keeper loss on the night. They were of the view that the shot stopper could have done better to avoid conceding all three goals.
Some say the former Platinum Stars keeper’s errors were avoidable putting into account his experience and that he has always been warned to avoid such errors.
Harrison has to win the league
The weekend’s cup final defeat has now doubled the pressure for coach Mark Harrison to win the league title. Last season Rollers were in the running for a double (League & Cup) but all hopes were shattered as they ended the league without any silverware despite yet again reaching the Top 8 finals.
This season Rollers are just a point ahead of Orapa United following last week’s League Disciplinary Committee’s decision to dock three points and two goals for using Ofentse Nato against Gilport Lions. With only two league games remaining and Rollers still to play Orapa United in the last game of the league, should the point difference between the two remain the same until the last week of the league, Harrison’s charges will have to overcome United and avoid another embarrassing dry season at all cost.