*Galaxy and Orapa clash in Mascom Top8
Diamond brothers, Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United, put their league aspirations on hold this Sunday as they go in search of Top 8 glory once again.
Having won three of the last four editions, the two mining teams have rich pedigree when it comes to this tournament.
They also boast a rich history against each other, facing off in the 2017 Final, when a thrilling climax to the competition saw Galaxy clinch their maiden title, running out 4-3 winners after extra time.
Galaxy have since added to that triumph, sealing their second Top 8 last year, beating Gaborone United 2-0 in a one-sided final in Francistown.
Having dispatched of the same opponents this time around, the defending champions will be hungry for more success as they seek to become the first club to win the tournament three times.
Indeed, it could be a history-making year for Galaxy as they are also looking to become the first team to retain the cup. However, standing in their way is Orapa United.
The country’s form team, the Ostriches, currently top the Premier League and go into Sunday’s first-leg on the back of an impressive 4-0 thrashing of BDF XI.
For Orapa, it is now four years since their title-winning campaign, when a young Madinda Ndlovu-led side sent shockwaves around the country, defeating the mighty Township Rollers 3-1.
The result promised to be a breakthrough moment for the Boys from Boteti.
However, although they have since made two finals – losing to Galaxy and then Rollers in 2018 – Orapa are yet to add to their 2016 success.
Now under the tutelage of another wily tactician, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote, they look well-placed for another shot at glory.
“Our recent run of good results in the league is permanent. Players are starting to understand my style of play, which is showing in our results,” the former Zebras boss told Voice Sport this week.
Keeping his cards close to his chest, Mpote went on to say, “Furthermore, our plan is to translate our good performance to the league cup against Galaxy, who are not really an easy side but we are going to approach the match with an intention to get a victory.”
Despite the first-leg being in Jwaneng, Mpote stressed his team would play attacking football and take the game to their opponents.
“Galaxy are going to be having a 12th player, who are the supporters, but I told my boys that as long we are playing in Botswana, we are home and can achieve any result we want at a given time,” he stressed.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mpote’s opposite number, Miguel Da Costa, said they would not be dwelling on last year’s triumph.
“Our approach this season is new, with a fresh mentality, hence we are not going to be carried away by our last year’s Mascom Top 8 triumph.”
Turning his attention to Sunday’s opponents, the Portuguese national said, “We want to beat Orapa United at home even though we have so much respect for them, we are going to go all the way out!”
Meanwhile, the other Mascom Top 8 semi-final pitted two-time winners, Rollers, against BDF XI – a repeat of the 2014 final, which the Army Boys won 5-4 on penalties.
Popa go into the fixture full of confidence having hit Police XI for seven at the weekend. BDF XI, on the other hand, suffered their worst defeat of the season, trounced 4-0 by a rampant Orapa.