The Mascom Top 8 final between Orapa United and Township Rollers has officially been set for this coming Saturday with a 3.30pm kick-off at the Francistown Sports Complex, the match had initially been scheduled for an 8pm kick-off but the last minute plea by Rollers to change the date of the final resulted in an earlier start.
Rollers had approached the Botswana Premier League last week to possibly change the date of the game, the league champions have a crunch CAF Champions League first round game away to Young Africans in Tanzania only three days after the Top 8 final so they wanted to be given ample time to prepare for the daunting trip to Tanzania.
Initially, Rollers had verbally approached the BPL to forward their suggestion but the league body encouraged them to include all stakeholders (Orapa, Mascom and the LOC of the final) in the request.
Gazette Sport has established that Rollers had requested a Friday final in Francistown or a Saturday final at the National Stadium in Gaborone. It appears the options were not approved by any of the other stakeholders, all interested parties eventually reached a compromise and agreed on a Saturday 3.30pm kick-off. Changing dates or the venue would have been an inconvenience on the BPL as the venue had already been booked in advance.
“The Mascom Top 8 final will take place this weekend (Saturday) in Francistown, all stakeholders were in agreement and everything is finalized. There were lots of rumours about the game possibly clashing with the CAF Champions League and that is not the case, the fixtures are three days apart. We all agreed on a solution that would please everyone,” said BPL Chief Executive Officer Thabo ‘Styles’ Ntshinogang when reached for comment.
Orapa United board member Kennekae Nkape also confirmed that the final will have an early kick-off. “We discussed three options on the day but we all agreed on the first option of a 3.30pm kick-off because it suited all of us,” Nkape briefly stated.
Orapa United have tied Rollers’ Top 8 record of three successive finals, Popa appeared in the final in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but were unfortunate as they lost all three. Popa have also created another record by reaching the final, they will appear in the cup decider for the fifth time in seven years, more than any other team.
Both sides have won the competition once, Popa in 2012 and Orapa in 2016, they will be eager to emulate Gaborone United who are the only side to have lifted the trophy twice in the tournament’s seven year history.