FRANCISTOWN, BOTSWANA — When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers – an African proverb, meaning that the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful, and this aptly describes the looming Orange FA Cup final soccer match this Saturday at the Francistown stadium between Township Rollers and Orapa United.
The game will mark an end to the 2018/19 football season as the two titans meet in a do or die Orange FA cup final.
The cup was unveiled yesterday in Gaborone and as always, the two clubs’ fans, administration and players are all oozing with confidence that their teams will emerge victorious when the fat lady sings. We look at some of the key factors that make the Orange FA cup final what it is and what it meant to those that have reached the decider…
Players to Watch
During the season, he has donned the armband in some of the games and this weekend he will have to come to the party in this do or die match. He will battle it out against Rollers’ Mosha Gaolaolwe who also knows this is the right way to bid his fans farewell after signing with the South African first division side, TS Galaxy after a gallant COSAFA performance recently. Kebatho also knows he has a chance to become the top goal scorer, and a goal in this match could seal it.
The 35-year-old veteran striker will have to double his leadership efforts including his strike rate prowess in front of the goal post if he wants his side to add more silverware to their cabinet. With age catching up with him, Mogorosi fully knows that this game could be his last.
The significance of the match
It’s a cup final and the last game of the season, however one player who it will be his last is Rollers veteran, Tshepo Motlhabankwe. Should he be on the starting lineup, surely we look up to his club to do a guard of honor for the 38-year-old Digawana born player who has served the local football fraternity with distinction.
The Francistown stadium has been a battlefield for all the major cup finals since former Zebras coach and Briton, Peter Butler found out that the support emanating from the people in the north always gave the Zebras an edge over its competitors. The atmosphere is both thrilling for all players and football fans alike. The two teams have met twice in the Mascom Top 8 finals where both have each won the cup once. Interestingly, when Rollers beat Orapa United, it was on this day and this year’s final will be played in the afternoon while the latter won during the night.
The stadium specs
This is a multifaceted stadium in Francistown, Botswana. It is used mostly for football matches and usually hosts the home matches of Francistown giants such as TAFIC FC. The stadium has a holding capacity of 27,000 people. The stadium was one of the projects constructed ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa where anticipation was that some nations would use it as their practice grounds.
The Orange FA Cup
It’s a Botswana Football Association (BFA) Cup powered by Orange with a total of 48 teams. The first round of 32 saw 16 regional teams, which qualified for play offs last season lock horns with 8 teams from each of First Division North and South. Whoever gets knocked out from the first round of 32 pockets a paltry P5 000. The second round of 32 will see the 16 winners of the first round battle with 16 Premier League teams and losers from this round will get P10 000 each. Last 16, quarterfinals and semi finals losers will get P25 000, P60 000 and P150 000 respectively while runners up will pocket a consolation of P350 000. The ultimate champions will get a floating trophy and P700 000 in cash.
As for Man of the Matches, in the first and second round they will get P500 and P750 worth of airtime respectively, while in the last 16 and last 8 they will get P1000 and P1 500 cash inclusive of P500 airtime each. Whilst for individual awards, man of the match will get P2750 inclusive of P750 airtime and in the finals; they will get P5500 with P1000 airtime inclusive. Player of the tournament will walk away with P40 000 and Top goal scorer and goalkeeper of the tournament will go home with P25 000 each. The coach, referee, assistant referee and supporter’s player of the tournament will each get P10 000 respectively.
How do you get tickets?
Tickets are on sale at all Computickets countrywide with the Grand stand costing P50, East stand P30 and elsewhere at P20. There is also a special dispensation for those who will be buying double tickets for the grand stand, as they will be accorded a whopping discount and buy them at P80.
Will it be shown on TV?
Botswana Television (BTV) will come to the rescue of those who would not have a chance to be at the stadium on match day.