Having made a positive start to the BTC Premiership title defence over the past weekend, Township Rollers look to build early season momentum when they face premier league newcomers Black Forest in a 20:00 (8 pm) kickoff at the National Stadium this Friday night.
It will be Popa’s first match at the National Stadium since the arena’s seating capacity has been increased.
Magoleng, as the Mankgodi side are affectionately known among their fans, were scheduled to play Galaxy in Jwaneng during Match Day One, but with the match officials not turning up for duty, the recently promoted side has had to wait for Friday night’s encounter for their elite league baptism.
Rollers head coach Mark Harrison believes that his side will be good enough for a win, but only if they give their opposition enough respect on the night.
“We have to impose ourselves on the game from the beginning, and we should not allow complacency to creep in at any point. At the training ground we always emphasize the need to firmly focus on each game no matter who the opponent is. But of course, subconsciously at times players lose their focus, and we need to guard against that,” Harrison told rollersfc.com
Mogogi Gabonamong will still be unavailable for this fixture, but Simisani Mathumo is back in training after being out sick for about two weeks.
“Simi is quite important to the side, but he has only just returned to training this week, so we’ll have to make a decision of when to start him. Against Nico United last weekend we had Mosha (Gaolaolwe) and Resco (Bogosi Kaekwe) in central defense and they did a good job,” Harrison said.
The British tactician says that in his team selection he will factor in the fact that Rollers have three games over the coming week.
“After the Black Forest match, we have a midweek trip to Francistown to play Police XI and then to Jwaneng the following Saturday to play Galaxy. That’s three matches in the space of a week, involving traveling as well, so we will have to consider that in our selection,” Harrison said.
He says that although his side did well enough to emerge victorious in their 3-0 victory over Nico United in the opening fixture in Serowe last weekend, they needed to be sharper.
“It was the right result and we put up a decent performance, the structure of the side was good, but we were not slick enough, and I expect a more fluid performance against Forest,” he says.
But the Mmankgodi side remains an unknown quantity to their more established premier league opponents. Forest have roped in former Zebras defender Rapelang “Razor” Tsatsilebe, who has had elite league coaching experience with BMC before the Lobatse outfit sold its franchise to Gaborone-based Gilport Lions.
“We don’t know too much about Forest. We played a friendly match against them last season but they have since changed coaches. What we want to do is to control the match from the onset,” Harrison said.
Rollers striker Terrance Mandaza will want to build on his two goals from last weekend, and the Blues faithful will want to come in numbers and try out the newly expanded National Stadium seating.
Copyright 2016 The Official Township Rollers FC Website. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.rollersfc.com as the source
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