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Football | South Africa

Teenage Hadebe © Backpagepix

Chiefs take aim at Rollers

Kaizer Chiefs will take on Township Rollers in the 2017 Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup semifinal match at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 12pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

This will be Amakhosi's first high profile pre-season match and they are taking part in the tournament for the first time since its inception in 2015.

Chiefs have beefed up their squad ahead of the tournament as they prepare for the upcoming 2017/18 campaign which is expected to start next month.

Zimbabwean defender Teenage Hadebe has joined Chiefs from Chicken Inn, while Bhongolethu Jayiya and Philani Zulu were both signed as free agents.

They joined the club from Cape Town City and Maritzburg United respectively having worked with Chiefs coach Steve Komphela in the past.

Komphela, who has been in charge of Amakhosi since 2015, has a new assistant coach in Patrick Mabedi. The Chiefs legend replaced Ghanaian John Paintsil.

Chiefs will look to continue their dominance over Rollers - having defeated the Botswana giants home and away in the 2015 CAF Champions League preliminary round.

Meanwhile, Rollers are familiar with this pre-season tournament having participated in the inaugural edition in Moruleng two years ago.

Popa Popa are the reigning Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions having won the 2016/17 league title. They are the most decorated Botswana club with 14 league titles.

Serbian tactician Nikola Kavazovic was appointed new Rollers head coach this week, but his assistant Mogomotsi Mpote will be in charge of the team in Orkney.

This is because Kavazovic does not have a visa to travel with Rollers to South Africa.

Furthermore, the club have signed former Baroka FC winger Tshepo Matete, who could face Chiefs on Saturday.

Motswana tactician Mpote, who guided Rollers to their most recent BPL title, says they aim to reach this year's final with the club having lost to Platinum Stars in the semifinal clash in the 2015 edition.

"Kaizer Chiefs is a big club and we respect them. But Township Rollers is also a big club with a large following, we believe we also deserve respect," Mpote said.

"Both sides are currently getting back into shape. Unlike Platinum Stars, who are fully fit having been engaged in Caf club competition during the off season, Rollers and Chiefs have recently started pre-season training.

"So performance levels may not be the highest. But you can still expect a good match and we want to reach the final."

The winner between Rollers and Chiefs will face either Free State Stars or Platinum Stars in the final at the same venue on Saturday.


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