TOWNSHIP ROLLERS 2 MOGODITSHANE FIGHTERS 0 (Mathumo 39, Serameng 64)
The most successful club in the land, Township Rollers’ bid for a record-extending 17th Premier League title got off to the perfect start on Sunday, as they eased past Mogoditshane Fighters 2-0 in Molepolole.
On his return to Popa after ten years in South Africa, veteran midfielder, Mogakolodi Ngele proved the difference, setting up both goals in a match winning performance.
Ngele, who turned 32 at the start of the month, looks to be an excellent addition to the Blues squad.
If he can stay fit, the former Mamelodi Sundowns star has the quality and experience to make a huge impact this season.
He was joined in Rollers’ new-look starting line-up by a number of debutants, including: Lone Taele, recently signed from Gilport Lions at left back, exciting South African acquisition, Shaun Gcumeni in midfield and former Nico United front man, Morgan Gaseitsiwe.
After a slow start, with chances few and far between, Mapalastina shook the game into life in the 39th minute, captain Simisani Mathumo rising highest to head home Ngele’s corner.
Rollers upped the tempo in the second half, Ngele dictating play in the middle as Popa pushed for the second goal that would kill the contest.
They had to wait until the 68th minute, when Ngele again worked his magic from a set piece.
His delightfully floated free-kick from long range caused havoc in the Fighters box, with midfielder Phenyo Serameng pouncing on some hesitant defending to poke in from close range.
After the match, an elated, if slightly out-of-breath Ngele, said he was delighted to be back playing in his home land again.
“I want to help the team thrive again after falling short last season. We are still adjusting to the coach’s philosophy as most of us are new to the club. Getting the win today is commendable and we can work on it as we are targeting top honors,” declared the legendary left-footer.
Giving his views on the game, Rollers newly-appointed head coach, Thabo Motang said he was pleased with the overall performance, more especially the clean sheet and the way his team ground out the victory.
“Fighters did not allow us to penetrate their defence; they hardly gave us space even though we had better ball possession,” noted Motang, who served as the club’s Goalkeeping Coach last season before being given the top job as he looks to lead Rollers to a first league championship since 2019.
Motang’s opposite number, Nelson Olebile, in what was his first competitive outing as Fighters coach, stressed there were plenty of positives to take from the clash.
“Overall, I think we played better looking at the situations we find ourselves in. Conceding two goals from free-kicks tells you that we could have done better and that will be our area of focus in our next game,” observed the former Masitaoka gaffer in reflection.