Gaborone — The mouth-watering cash prizes and bragging rights will be enough motivation for the big guns in the BTC Charity Cup at the National Stadium on August 11.
Although the competition is primarily for charity, teams would no doubt be buoyed by the prospect of pocketing the P300 000 first prize and starting the campaign with a trophy.
In two contrasting matches, Gaborone United will lock horns with Mochudi Centre Chiefs at 9am while Township Rollers will clash with Orapa United at 11:30am.
Nothing much is expected from GU and Chiefs since the two teams are still on a rebuilding mission after losing star players from last season.
This leaves the winner of the match between Rollers and Orapa as favourites to win the tournament since the two teams will be using tried and tested players.
GU have been severely weakened by the loss of the spine of the team which delighted supporters with attractive football last season.
The strike-force was affected by the departure of goal-poachers Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Tumisang Orebonye to Chippa United and Township Rollers respectively.
The transfer of full backs Thatayaone Ditlhokwe and Jackson Lesole has weakened the defence while the departure of Kutlwelo Mpolokang, Kabelo Seakanyeng and Karabo Phiri has left a gaping hole in midfield.
Though Moyagoleele have brought on board strikers Lynoth Chikuhwa and Tumelo Sentle from Security Systems and Union Flamengo Santos, the team has not adequately replaced the departed players. Just like GU, Chiefs have also lost quality players such as Thatayaone Ramatlapeng, Lesego Lubinda and Khumoetsile Kufigwa and Tshepo Borake who has returned to Jwaneng Galaxy. But Magosi were yet to make significant replacements at the time of going to print.
New Chiefs coach Philani Mabhena and GU interim coach Stephen Maposa have their work cut out to make the two giants competitive again.
Speaking at the launch of the competition, Chiefs chairman Raymond Tsheko was optimistic that they would beat Gaborone United and advance to the final.
The last encounter between the two teams ended with GU humiliating Chiefs 6-2 in the league. The match between Rollers and Orapa is expected to produce sparks.
Apart from retaining Mapalastina regular players who won them the league and cup double last season, Mapalastina have further strengthened their team through the acquisitions of Tumisang Orebonye, Thatayaone and the speedy Lesole from Gaborone United.
They have also acquired diminutive midfielder Mothusi Cooper from Extension Gunners.
The Ostriches have also been busy strengthening their team. Cameroonian striker Christian Epoupa was signed from Zimbabwean giants Dynamos while budding striker Molaodi Tlhalefang was plucked from Black Forest to add more firepower upfront.
The team has also brought in midfielders Onkemetse Powe, who was a revelation at Tafic last season and Gofaone Mabaya, who was outstanding at Black Forest for the past two years, while the addition of Kelapile Ndlovu and Lesego Keredilwe is expected to fortify the defence.
Rollers public relations officer Bafana Pheto said during the launch of the competition this week that his team was ready to win the tournament.
"We beat Orapa United in the final of the Mascom Top 8 and we are ready to do the same thing to them," said Pheto.
The Ostriches defeated Mapalastina 2-0 in the two teams' last match.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>