GABORONE:Township Rollers historic participation in the Total Confederation of African Federation Champions League (CAF) came to an end as they held the Tunisian side Esperance Sportive Club in the last game of the group stages.
The game took place in Botswana ,Gaborone for the return leg which was played at the National Stadium. Township Rollers received their visitors after they travelled to Tunisia some months ago on the first leg of the group stages where it lost 4-0 in Tunis.
One would argue that Rollers achieved their goals for the season as they had clearly stated their goals which were winning the BTC Premiership, Mascom top 8 and reaching the group stages of the Champions League. However that almost changed after winning the first game of the competition against Kampala City Council Authority in Botswana.
People began to believe they can even go further than what seemed to be impossible to even think of going there. The coach, the technical team and everyone in the Rollers family began to see light and dreamt more.
The coach Nikola Kavazovic spoke of a possibility to qualify in the press conference of the last game against Al-Ahly.
This game was just to honour a fixture as they were already out of the competition because of a string of losses in the games which they played. The first game was against Kampala City nd won 1-0, Esparance away which they lost, played Al-Ahly lost 3-0, return leg, went to Uganda, lost .1-0. This game had no significance to Township Rollers, had they won, there was absolutely no point as they were already out.
Popa started the game aggressively trying to secure an early goal. They put pressure on the visitors, however the Esperance defence had come to work and were able to absorb that pressure.
The game was balanced even though Esperance had a little bit more of the ball than Rollers. We saw Township Rollers playing more back passes than trying to go forward, in the Midfield Gape Mohutsiwa did not come to the party as most of the time he was late on the ball which led him to commit more unnecessary fouls. His positioning was poor and left a huge vacuum in the middle of the park. Maano Ditshupo worked extra time as he was responsible for cutting moves and initiating attacks all alone.
Another weakness was Joel Mogorosi as lost balls easily, he could not protect it and keep it to himself. Lemponye Tshireletso wad also rusty. He could slice through the defence and fail to convert into a goal.
The two teams continued fighting each other but not clinical in front of goals. One would have expected Mohutsiwa to be first substitutes but the coach opted for Motsholetsi Sikele and put Ofentse. The other sub was Kago Monyake and Segolame Boy out.
The game ended with both teams failing to find the back of the net.
The squads for both teams are Wagarre Dikago, Ivan Ntenge, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Simisani Mathumo , Gape Mohutsiwa, Maano Ditshopo, Motsholetsi Segolame Boy ,Lemponye Tshireletso , Joel Mogorosi. While for Esperance areTami Jeridi, Derbam, Ben Mohamed, Mahmoud, Dhacuadi, Beguir,Nesknini, Houdini, Badri, Ben Sghaier, Kanessi