Township Rollers’ captain Maano Ditshupo has warned league rivals that this season they will be going all out to win everything on offer. The league starts on September 23 with Rollers playing Tafic in Francistown. Rollers have been eluded by the Mascom Top 8 for years but this time around Ditshupo has warned that they will not be compromising. Ditshupo said that this time around they will not accompany any team to the finals but will win it. He said everything is on the table this time around and they will definitely collect all silverware.
He recognised his new coach Nikola Kavazovic, saying he has changed many things about the team and has become a best friend to them all. “Nikola is a great guy. I think at this moment in time we really needed someone like him. He knows exactly what players need and takes their welfare seriously. He is very professional,” he said. Ditshupo said he teaches them a lot of things. He said the team is united with players having realised the importance of brotherhood and the importance of encouraging each other. He said the new addition to the team in the likes of Jerome Ramatlhakwana, Wagarre Dikago, Percy More, Boyo Lechaena, Mthokozisi Msomi, Tshepo Matete and Ivan Ntege are doing incredibly well. He said they have gotten to know them well and are ready to prove themselves to Rollers family.
On how he has coped since the passing on of his best friend and Rollers playmate Gofaone ‘Sbida’Tiro he said he has accepted the loss. “I have accepted what has happened and I continue to accept that every day. Sbida was my team mate, my best friend and mostly my brother and it was always as if it is just me and him and no one else,” he said. Ditshupo said they shared a lot and spent immeasurable time together at their workplace which is the field and even at home. Tiro passed on – collapsing during training –when Ditshupo was still dealing with pain of the loss of his younger brother. “Last season I felt as if curtains were closing on me. I had no idea as to what was going on and at some point I did not even know how to respond. Sometimes people would expect me to cry but I won’t even do that because to some extent it felt like I am in a desolate place,” he said. Despite all these challenges that he faced he knew he had to carry his team and he did exactly that. With a smile beaming on his face Ditshupo said now when he gets in the pitch he feels like he needs to play for two people, and that is his dear friend Tiro and himself. He connects more with him in the field of play.