The Botswana Premier League (BPL) changes gears this weekend when two of the most consistent teams, Township Rollers and Jwaneng Galaxy face off tomorrow at the National Stadium. Kick-off is at 4 p.m.
The two teams have fought for supremacy against each other over the past four seasons, Rollers claiming the league title three times while Galaxy settled for second. However, Galaxy eventually won the title during the 2019-2020 season in what appeared to be a fierce battle cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, Rollers and Galaxy were breathing on each other before the pandemic hit the region, prompting the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to end the season with an average of 10 games remaining. At the time, Galaxy was perched at the top with 41 points while Rollers was just below with 40 points. Head-to-head, the Rollers were the dominant team, with Galaxy having won only once against Popa since his promotion to the Premier League years ago.
Saturday’s epic battle will be the first league game for Galaxy coach Morena Ramoreboli, who missed last weekend’s 4-2 win over the Gilport Lions. The South African mentor had visited his country, days after leading his team to a historic qualification in the group stage of the CAF Champions League. He’s back home to lead his team in what should be a tactical battle against Roller Skating boss Hassan Oktay. The latter sat on the bench for the first time last weekend when his team beat Extension Gunners 2-0. The two coaches have been given almost the same mandates to build teams that will conquer not only at home but also in Africa. Ramoreboli is already doing well in the Champions League and should be rewarded with a new long-term contract. The two sides are currently in discussions on a long-term contract and reports from Galaxy indicate that the club and Ramoreboli are ready to extend.
On the pitch, both teams have an exciting mix of experienced and young players. Namibian-born striker Wendell Rudath has already proven himself to be one of Galaxy’s key players this season. He scored crucial goals in the CAF Champions League campaign. At Rollers, the signing of the “blockbuster”, Jean Bertrand Iradukunda should make his debut after missing the shock of the Gunners because of a blow. The Rwandan striker arrived with a great reputation from Gasogi United in Rwanda and started training with his new teammates two weeks ago.
In other interesting games, the Gunners will face another tough encounter against newspaper leaders Orapa United tomorrow at Lobatse Sports Complex. The Ostriches started their campaign with a straightforward 4-1 victory over Notwane last Sunday. Gaborone United (GU) travel to Serowe for a date with the Mahalapye Railway Highlanders while Morupule Wanderers take on Masitaoka at the same location in a double header. Police XI, who played a 0-0 draw against Security Systems last weekend, take on an injured Notwane at the Otse Police College. On Sunday, Sua Flamingoes will host the Mogoditshane fighters in Francistown as the Gilport Lions take on Prisons XI at the National Stadium. The BDF XI vs Security Systems meeting will kick off the weekend action tomorrow night in Lobatse.