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Matlama date Township Rollers



Luciah Phahla



Vodacom Premier League side Matlama will host Botswana Premier League runner-ups Township Rollers in a planned three-team friendly competition at Setsoto Stadium next weekend.

The Botswana giants will be camping in Lesotho as they get ready for their 2016/17 campaign and they will face Matlama next Saturday.

‘Mapalastina’, as Rollers are known, are set to arrive in the country next Thursday and will use Setsoto as their training base.

Speaking on Tuesday, Matlama’s communications and marketing manager Tankiso Moletsane said ‘Tse Putsoa’ have invited Bantu to join the festivities and the Mafeteng club has been pencilled in to face Rollers next Sunday.

Bantu are yet to confirm their participation but Moletsane said he expected no hiccups in talks with ‘A Matšo Matebele’.

Rollers’ visit to the country was originally scheduled for this weekend but was moved to next week because of a church service to be held at Setsoto on Sunday.

“The game was supposed to be played this weekend but it has been postponed to next week because the stadium has been booked for an event this weekend and we decided to postpone the game,” Moletsane told thepost.

“This is also to give Rollers time to prepare themselves and we are expecting them to arrive next week Thursday. They will use the stadium for their training sessions as they are camping here in Lesotho. They are expected to bring 40 people who include their executives and they said they are coming with a bus for their supporters,” he said.

Moletsane added: “We will be playing Rollers (next) Saturday, that has been confirmed. We have been looking for a team that can play them on Sunday because they will be leaving on Sunday evening. We have been talking to Bantu and they did not have a problem although they wanted to play on Saturday. They have not yet confirmed but we are still talking.”

Moletsane said Rollers’ preseason visit to Lesotho is a result of good relations between the Botswana club and Matlama.

Rollers head coach Mark Harrison was in the country last week for a CAF A License coaching course hosted by the Lesotho Football Association at Bambatha Tšita Sports Complex.

“The friendly was an arrangement between the two clubs,” Moletsane said. “You would remember, the Rollers’ coach was here last week at the workshop and he is also close to our head coach Moses Maliehe.”

The outing against Rollers will offer Matlama stern preparation as they step up their readiness ahead of the new season.

Last weekend ‘Tse Putsoa’ took part in the four-team Alliance Winter Challenge tournament where they reached the final. They will be looking to build on that performance and playing Rollers is an opportunity to gauge their progress against international opposition.

Matlama open their 2016/17 Vodacom premiership campaign away to Butha-Buthe Warriors on August 28.

“This is just a continuation of our preseason preparations,” Moletsane said. “We played last week and we are playing again next week, they are also preparing for their upcoming season.”

Like Matlama, Rollers were also league runners-up in Botswana last season. Mochudi Centre Chiefs pipped Rollers to the title by four points.

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