CAN MADINDA NDLOVU HAND CHIEFS FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON IN EPIC CLASH?
Although Township Rollers are the most successful team in the country, having won the league a record eleven times and the Coke Cup an unsurpassed five times, Mochudi Centre Chiefs are the team of the moment.
There has been a shift of power in recent years, with the Kgatleng side winning almost everything on offer.
When the two sworn enemies meet this Sunday at the University of Botswana Grounds history will count for nothing as both sets of supporters seek the bragging rights a victory on the day will bring.
You will have to dig through the archives to find the last time Township Rollers defeated archrivals Chiefs. The most convincing win for the Blues was back in 2010, a 3-1 victory in the Coke Cup final -back then Terrence Mandaza was the difference.
The current league log standing is obvious testimony that Dragojlo Stanojlovic’s side is a force to reckon with.
Chiefs Public Relations Officer Clifford Mogomotsi was as confident as ever during an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon.
“I can’t even remember the last time Rollers defeated us. You will have to go back to the rainy seasons to find that out,” said Mogomotsi.
The upbeat PRO said although they will be missing their influential captain Pontsho Moloi, who was red carded against Nico United, he still expects his charges to rise to the occasion.
“We will also be without first choice keeper Mompoloki Sephekolo and Arnold Chaka but with the arsenal we have I’m confident of a win,” he said.
“We just don’t accept losing against Rollers,” he added with conviction.
Although he waxed lyrical about their dominance over Rollers, Mogomotsi admitted that the erratic recent form of the Gaborone giants won’t account for anything come match day.
“We can’t be fooled by Rollers’ position in the log. I expect the usual fireworks on Sunday,” he said.
Mogomotsi credits their Serbian coach Stanojlovic for the team’s current good showing that has seen them perched at the top of the league with 21 points after seven matches, ten points ahead of their weekend opponents.
“He has managed to instill discipline in to the team and now all players are hungry and willing to play for him,” he said.
The PRO also spoke highly of the new arrivals at Chiefs. The likes of former Ecco City Greens and Nico United striker Bonolo Fraiser, Lemponye Tshireletso, Onalethata Tshekiso and Ontse Ntesa who have played well since donning the black and white stripes.
“They have made a huge impact. They took the baton from those who left and continued the team’s winning streak from last season,” he said.
While Chiefs have been firing on all cylinders Rollers on the other hand has been breathing hot and cold.
Their new signings are yet to reward the technical team for the faith they have shown in them.
Perhaps that is why coach Madinda Ndlovu who won the league with Chiefs last season could not be drawn to discuss the match on Wednesday afternoon.
“I have been away from the team since Sunday so I’m not in a position to make an informed decision,” was his response when asked if his knowledge of Chiefs could be the deciding factor on Sunday.
Rollers come into the match without their influential midfielder Maano Ditshupo due to a controversial red card he received on Sunday against Gaborone United. Ditshupo’s combination with Malawian grafter Lawrence Majawa has been the only revelation at times for the Blues.
Without the services of Godfrey Ngele who is still nursing an injury, it will be interesting to see who will be deployed in the middle.
However the club’s Welfare Manager Motshegetsi Mafa sees things differently.
“Our team is fine. The only problem is our fans have high expectations and want us to win every week.
That is normal for big teams,” he told Voice Sport.
“Chiefs have become our hoodoo team. I think we last defeated them during Wesley Mondo’s era,” Mafa said with nostalgia.
Although they are ten points adrift, Mafa believes it is a gap they can close down as the league progresses although he admits that Sunday’s game will be a vital factor in that process.
“Its’ just three games, that is why it is important that we win this match,” he said.
“Our new players are beginning to gel and the arrival of Namibian international Jerome Lewis who scored against GU is a boost,” he said.
Mafa said he expects Rollers players to use this game to get themselves back into the campaign.
“We mean business,” he said.
It is a match that looks won on paper, but MadindaNdlovu has proven over time that he is a man who thrives on challenges.
Could he be the first coach to hand the defending champions their first defeat of the season? The match starts at 15:30hrs and tickets sell for P50.
It is also scheduled for BTV so armchair fans are also in for a Super Sunday treat.