Friday Feb 23, 2018. 09:14
Township Rollers head coach Nikola Kavazovic says his charges displayed great team ethic in getting through to the next stage in the 2018 CAF Champions League.
The Botswana champions were beaten 2-1 by Sudanese giants Al Merrikh in the preliminary round second-leg game at the Al-Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman, Sudan on Wednesday.
However, Rollers advanced to the first round of Africa’s prestigious tournament after winning the tie 4-2 on aggregate having won 3-0 in the first-leg in Gaborone, Botswana almost two weeks ago.
"Al-Merrikh is really a great side, and to defeat them is an epic moment, a huge success for our club. Our defensive organization was very good; these are qualities of the game that we commit a lot of time to in practice,” he said.
Joel Mogorosi gave Rollers an early lead, but two goals by Sheka Fofana handed the hosts the victory.
“We were very aggressive; we really didn’t allow them to create any chance, except when (Keeagile) Kgosipula made a mistake. They scored two goals, for the first Sikele made a mistake with a back pass, but he played well on the night and in eight months he has not been committing mistakes. So I have no issues with him. The second goal was a masterpiece from the Al-Merrikh player,” Kavazovic told the club’s official website.
Rollers took the match to their opponents from early on, and after getting an early goal from Joel Mogorosi stuck to their task of protecting their lines.
“We went to Sudan with a clear game plan, to go all out attack until the moment we score and then parking the bus from then on. I told my players whether we score after three or 53 minutes, we had to press on for a goal then defend, park the bus,” the Serbian continued.
“Luckily we scored early on…maybe not luckily because we deserved it, from the first minute we pressed a high line, in the first three minutes we dominated and it was only a matter of seconds before we scored. Juluka (Mogorosi) scored after a Boy corner kick, which is something we had worked on in practice the previous day. After that we defended.
“Parking the bus in front of goal became popular with Jose Mourinho", Kavazovic said, "but there are a few options of doing it. My philosophy of parking the bus in front of goal includes counter attacking football, and we kept on creating, which is why Boy and Tshireletso played in the midfield, so they could create those killer passes for Sikele, Moluba (Edwin Moalosi), and Juluka, (Mogorosi).”
Rollers will now take on Tanzanian giants Young Africans in the two-legged first round next month.