BOTSWANA’s Tow nship Rollers w inger, Motsholetsi Sikele has described Mainland giants Young Africans as a stronger side, compared to the last time they met in continental football competition.
Township Rollers will face Yanga in the CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg at the National Stadium in Gaborone this weekend.
The scorer of the famous winning goal in the Blues’ March 2018, 2-1 victory over Yanga in Dar es Salaam- finishing off a great 20 passes build up by Rollers- Sikele said Yanga now look stronger than the team Rollers defeated the last time round.
“I would say compared to the last time Yanga look stronger, they are a good team who circulate the ball well and look for openings in the final third with quick movement and crosses into the box.
But we managed to contain them in the first leg; we had good possession of the ball and pushed forward in the first half but they came out stronger in the second half. Now we are even going into the second leg and we should make sure we use home ground advantage to go through,” Sikele said.
Speaking to rollersfc.com on Tuesday, Sikele has encouraged Botswana football supporters to attend the game in large numbers. Sikele said Yanga were boosted by a large crowd in the first leg in Dar es Salaam and Popa as Township Rollers are popularly known could also benefit from similar backing.
“I urge all Batswana football fans in general and Rollers fans in particular to attend the game and give the team the moral support we need to go through. At 1-1 the match is even and we will need all the support from our supporters to go through,” Sikele said.
Naturally a winger or attacking midfielder but converted into a right back by Nikola Kavazovic, and often deployed there by Thabo Motang and Rodolfo Zapata, Sikele is now back to his favoured attacking role under Tomas Trucha.
“I learnt a lot playing at the back and attacking through overlapping, but I prefer being in a more forward position so I am happy to return to my old playing role.
As a professional you do your best wherever you are asked to play. I am glad to note a return to form but I am still not where I desire to be in terms of personal performance so I will keep pushing myself to reach my personal best,” Sikele said.
Yanga face a must win battle against Township Rollers on Saturday, knowing in advance that a win is their only guarantee to take them further into the competition.
A 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam during the first leg clash between the two sides on August 10th this year, as it stand, is a good results for the hosts (Township Rollers), while their opponents must score an away goal to be back into the contest.
It was Yanga, who laboured on the day to keep the scoreline balance in the dying minutes of the match courtesy of Rwandan import attacker Patrick Sibomana, who netted via a spot kick despite missing the first penalty in the 30th minute of the opening half.
Yanga arrived in Gaborone on Monday evening and the club’s Vice-Chairman Fredrick Mwakalebela said the team started preparations instantly.
Speaking through a telephone interview from Botswana yesterday, Mwakalebela said all members of the squad are fit ready for the crucial match.
“We arrived safely here today (Monday), to have enough time for training and adapt to the weather. We did not want to land here a day before the much that is why we planned to arrive early,” he said.
He added that they have since pitched a camp at Botswana Football Association (BFA), ground where the team is undertaking training sessions prior to the game under the guidance of Head Coach, Mwinyi Zahera.
“The positive thing is that morale in the team has doubled, every player is hungry for success on Saturday and we have talked with the trainer who has assured us that he is building a good pattern in all important areas of the team to snatch a victory,” he said.
In warm up matches, Yanga lost 2-0 to Polisi Tanzania in Moshi before registering a 1-0 win over Kenya’s AFC Leopards in Arusha last weekend. Township Rollers today had friendly match practice games against Holy Ghost and Matebejana.
Popa won 6-1 and 6-0 respectively.