Gaborone — Orapa United and Township Rollers on May 18 overcame the disciplined forces of Police XI and BDF XI to reach the inaugural Orange FA Cup final.
Orapa came from a goal down to force extra time and resoundly defeat Police XI 4-1 while Rollers overcame a lethargic first half performance to score two second half goals that secured the 2-0 win over BDF.
The oldest domestic club competition, first contested for in 1968 and known over the years for various sponsorship reasons as the Botswana FA Challenge Cup, Trade Fair Cup, Lion Cup and Coca Cola Cup, was resuscitated this season as the Orange FA Cup.
Orapa and Rollers earned the right to be the first to engrave their name on the new trophy.
It was a day of relative good attendance; well perhaps not by Francistown standards but certainly the normally sparsely populated National Stadium had more people suggesting someone had not told Gaborone folks the two games were televised live and as such they had to be burdened with going to the stadium.
First up was Orapa against Police in the double header semi-finals.
During the early exchanges, one would be forgiven to think Police had wound back the clock to their heyday when the Jungle Kings boasted stars such as Teenage Gosenyang, Summer Ncube and Des Molefhe.
Mike 'Dubula Dubula' Sithole's Police side played some enterprising football early on and had gone a goal up as the fourth minute.
Tapiwa Gadibolae made a tearing run down the right flank for Police, then delivered a teasing cross that his namesake, Orapa defender Tapiwa Nyamanjiva tried to cut out only for the ball to fly into his own net, as Police broke the deadlock through the own goal.
Police continued to dominate the first half with good interchange in offensive play between their midfielders and attackers such as Letumile Molebatsi, Henrick Moyo, Kekaetswe Mara Moloi and Eliphas Nyambi.
In a forward foray into the Police defensive third, Orapa forward Omatla Kebatho rattled the crossbar before his teammate Lemogang 'Ntosh' Maswena converted the rebound only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
As Police pushed forward for a cushion second goal, Tonderai Nyakuba broke free but advancing towards the penalty box saw Orapa goalkeeper Lesenya Malapela advance to block the shot.
Malapela was just outside the box when he handled the ball but the referee and linesman were oblivious to the misdemeanor.
Just before the break, Orapa got an equalizer through Mbatshi Elias and from then on the Ostriches asserted their dominance. The quality of Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote's Orapa side was clearly evident in a second half where they imposed themselves.
But neither side could get a second goal, forcing extra time where once more Orapa were dominant, but this time providing the end product by being clinical in front of goal.
Substitute Onkemetse Powe, captain Kebatho and former Notwane winger Maswena dealt the killer blow as they struck three goals for Orapa in extra time to add gloss to the scoreline; the Ostriches emerging deserved 4-1 winners.
In the second semi final, Rollers and BDF served up a cagey first half of little goalmouth action with most of the ball played in the middle of the park.
Late in that opening stanza, Rollers forward Joel Mogorosi forced BDF goalkeeper Tumiso Mashakola into a couple of saves in the 18 yard box.
The second half was played at a faster pace, with both sides looking for a goal scoring opening. It would be Popa who would carve out that opening.
Rollers goals came seven minutes apart, both scored from close range; man of the match Ofentse Nato nodding in a corner kick delivery in the 65th minute and Joel Mogorosi tapping in after Motsholetsi Sikele had shot goal ward from close range in the 72nd minute.
BDF worked hard in the middle of the park but could not claw their way back; their normally effective forwards Rashid Mandawa and Moatlhodi Ralesota unable to find their way to goal.
It would end 2-0 to Popa, setting up a cup final date with the Ostriches. Scheduled for May 31, it will be the third cup final meeting between Orapa and Rollers over the past four seasons.
Source : BOPA