Gaborone — Township Rollers on Saturday afternoon delivered a major feat for local club football in qualifying for the group stage of the CAF Champions League, after an aggregate 2-1 win over Tanzanian giants Young Africans.
The first round second leg tie ended goalless before the multitudes who thronged the National Stadium, and the Blues duly got their dues having won the first leg 2-1 away in Dar es Salaam.
Having previously eliminated 2015 semi-finalists Al-Marreikh of Sudan 4-2 aggregate in the preliminary round, Rollers will now have their name in the hat for the group stage draw set for Cairo, Egypt later in the week.
The huge crowd created a carnival atmosphere at the beginning of the match and would have loved to have seen a goal to put a cherry on top of the celebrations.
But Yanga, as the Tanzanian side is popularly known in East Africa, packed the midfield and Rollers were all too happy to play short passes in the middle of the park.
Attacking channels closed on either end, the match became mashed into tactical chess, somewhat of an anti-climax after the thrilling, open attack first leg in Dar es Salaam.
The chess pieces would be manoeuvred in favour of Rollers head coach Nikola Kavazovic, who had a calm demeanour as his opposite number George Lwandamina stood close to the touchline shouting at match officials for periods of the contest.
A good interchange involving right back Tshepo Motlhabankwe and right midfielder Motsholetsi Sikeke in the 12th minute ended with a long cross played deep into the left side of the Yanga danger zone.
Joel Mogorosi received the ball, but shot wide from close range.
On the half hour mark, an overlapping Mosha Gaolaolwe similarly found himself in a great position, but his first touch let him down before releasing a timid shot that went wide.
Late on in the first half, Segolame Boy, upon receiving a long pass from Motlhabankwe, tore into the right hand side of the Yanga 18 yard box but shot wide.
As the second half commenced Rollers continued having the better of the attacking chances. Edwin Moalosi was distracted by Yanga goalkeeper Rostand Jehu as the Popa star sought to draw blood.
In the 70th minute, Yanga had their first real sight of goal as Zambian forward Odrey Chirwa, who was a handful in the first leg, profited from the Rollers rear-guard failing to deal with a long ball; only to shoot into the side netting.
Neat play between Mogorosi and Moalosi presented another chance for Rollers but Yanga cleared their lines; and Jehu dealt with a long range Lemponye Tshireletso shot and a Gaolaolwe header from the resulting corner kick.
It ended goalless, Rollers deservedly through as aggregate 2-1 winners having dominated both legs of the tie.
Source : BOPA