Botswana: League Title, Relegation Battles Hot Up

Gaborone — As an interesting end to the BTC Premiership title race goes to the wire, Township Rollers leapfrogged Jwaneng Galaxy into pole position with a 4-0 victory over relegation-threatened Prisons XI at the UB Stadium in Gaborone on April 23.

A sublime brace from Segolame Boy, a similarly clinical effort by Lemponye Tshireletso as well as a Tumisang Orebonye's close-range header gave the Blues the victory on the night.

Popa, who entered the contest in the second position, a point below Galaxy, went two points clear at the top, but Galaxy could return to the summit if they defeat Mochudi Centre Chiefs tonight.

The result had ramifications on both ends of the table as relegation candidates, Prisons will be an interested party in the Galaxy-Centre Chiefs match, as the battle for survival at the lower end of the log also reaches interesting dimensions.

On the night, the Warders to their credit tried to be positive, trying to take the game to Rollers. But a combination of the poor state of the UB pitch and the superiority of their opponents rendered their efforts invalid.

Neither side was able to play carpet football but relied on quick transitions between defence and attack.

Rollers had the first sight of goal, Orebonye seeing a one on one attempt bravely blocked by Prisons goalkeeper, Bakang Methole, who had creditably come out of his line to close down the space for the Rollers forward to exploit.

Prisons were full of running in a high tempo game but were restricted to the limited sight of Keeagile Kgosipula's goal.

But early on, Kgosipula played a place kick straight into the path of Prisons' forward Kitso Mpuisang who could not control the ball, spurning a great chance for the Warders to take the lead.

Gape Mohutsiwa hit the woodwork for Rollers in the 12th minute, before the Blues took a 2-0 first-half lead from almost identical goals from Tshireletso and Boy.

First, Tshireletso in the 19th minute scored a scorcher from yards outside the 18-yard box, before Boy let fly another left-footed thunderbolt in the 30th minute.

The Warders entered the second half looking to reduce the deficit but were caught unawares just three minutes in, when a 48th minute Boy free kick from outside the box flew in directly into the net as Rollers secured a three-goal lead.

Soon thereafter, Prisons forward Mokuye Shakabayo saw a close-range effort go wide of Kgosipula's goal.

On the other end, having seen a couple of chances go begging, Oreboye managed to get Rollers' fourth in the 70th minute, heading home a cross played deep into the opposition danger zone.

Prisons remain perched at position 14, the third lowest position on the log, and are equal on 22 points with 13th placed Centre Chiefs, who will be seeking reprieve when they face title contenders Galaxy.

Rollers are on 58 points, Galaxy on 56, the two sides having each played 26 games with four left to play.

While Galaxy could steal a march on Rollers at the top with a win over Centre Chiefs, Popa will still emerge from this week's round of fixtures with a game in hand; their match against Miscellaneous, which was abandoned when the Serowe side did not turn up.

League authorities are yet to pronounce a determination on the status of that fixture.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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