The calamity that struck Francistown football in the past two seasons has left the second city with no team in the elite league. Tafic was the first one to bite the dust in 2014, Ecco City Greens followed in the next season; however, Matjimenyenga as Tafic is known have learnt from their bungle two seasons ago and they are plotting a ferocious comeback to the premier league. Mabikani Matjimenyenga.
When Tafic gained promotion to the then super league in 2002, the ecstasy that gripped its fans was as intense as the gloom that overtook them at the end of the 2013-14 season when the team was condemned to the first division. Tafic made history by being the first team from up north to clinch the Coca Cola cup in 2002. But following their demise, the team experienced internal squabbling with Humphrey Nawa and Gilbert Makombo’s factions tearing the team apart.
In the lower division, they started their first season on a low note which saw them at some point occupying the last spot. However the team managed to find the right footing and finished the campaign on 4th position and having missed the premier league play-offs by a whisker. Now the team is gearing up for the new season targeting ‘’straight promotion to the elite league’’.
Tafic which has in the past been regarded as the pride of Francistown as it was the first team to win the FA Cup in 2002 and having produced football legends like Jomo ‘Nobody’ Mosweu, Mmoloki ‘BB’ Sechele and Mlungisi Kopi just to mention but a few intend to bring back smiles to its fans and the city at large. According to the team’s marketing manager Tebogo Toteng, they have learnt from the blunders that led to their relegation to the first division.
“For you to attract sponsorships you should have good governance and this is what we have done, and it was a lesson to our people because they are united and we are committed to one goal.’’ The team’s failure to unite has been blamed for the relegation as sponsors ditched them owing to good governance.
‘Undipe-ndi-kupe’ as the club is fondly called by its legion of fans is planning to retain most of its squad so that there will be continuation in the coming season but they won’t stand in any player’s way. To make their intentions clear, they have already started the pre-season training at Leseding grounds making them the only first division side to do so. This weekend, the team will battle it out with city rivals Ecco city greens in a one day tournament sponsored by Buy & Build in bid to put the team in right shape.
The finances have proven to be one of the factors that led to the downfall of the team and its leadership are working tirelessly to source out funds for the team. The team has started selling new replicas at P175, 00 and will host a dinner at Andasonia hotel to try to boost their wallet. In terms of sponsorship Toteng said “So far we are still running around to get something, even a little sponsorship to help in the administrative part.”
The cautious marketing manager however could not discuss the developing prospects of the return of the Francistown businessman Don Moore and other corporates who are said to be willing to help the team saying he couldn’t comment at the moment.
The Francistown leaders are also mobilising the community to rally behind the team which was formed as a social club compared to Tasc, Ecco and GNT which were institutional teams originally.
The Chairman of Francistown Football Association (FRAFA) Jonas Msomi Ikgopoleng says they have engaged the city big-wigs to help the teams to ensure their entry into the premier league next season. Ikgopoleng added that they will meet with the mayor, Grace Muzila to see how to better help the teams. Asked whether they have identified one team to push to the elite league, he said whichever one that will start the season well will be given full support by the region.
In the general assembly two weeks ago, peace and tranquillity prevailed with supporters coming with suggestions here and there. This has been welcomed by the team and regional leadership as they believe this is what the doctor has ordered for the team.
ECCO ALSO AIM TO BOUNCE BACK
However, Tafic is not the only team fighting for a comeback, city compatriots, Ecco City Greens who were relegated last season are also ploting promotion to the elite league by the end of the season. ‘Mamoja Diskie’ has signed a deal with a local designer Makungupuleswa in bid to avoid spending much with other fancied labels- this in an endeavour to be prudent when it comes to finances as it is the reason why they relegated.
The team mouthpiece, Dingalo Dickson says everything is going accordingly and their mandate is to return to the premier league. Although it is still dry in terms of sponsorships, he remained adamant that they will use everything at their disposal to ensure that they come back; Dingalo added that they don’t want to lose many players “we want to retain a third of our current contingent of players”.
Among the preparations, the team will be holding an elective assembly this weekend to appoint a committee that will steer the team to its destination.
The Francistown region has for long time dominated First Division North and the region says it wants the two teams back in the premier league; however it won’t be easy as there are other teams like Kazungula and Mahalapye Hotspurs who can spoil the party for Francistowners.
Kaizer Chiefs, one of South Africa’s biggest football clubs, has been facing a coaching crisis. In the midst of this turmoil, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, a local hard-tackling defender, has quickly become an integral member of the squad. However, despite his impressive performances, Ditlhokwe must avoid complacency and continue to work hard to secure his place in the star-studded team. TSHEPO KEHIMILE explores the potential impact of Chiefs’ frequent changes in coaching staff on Ditlhokwe and emphasize the need for him to maintain his high level of performance.
Ditlhokwe’s Rise to Prominence:
Ditlhokwe’s journey in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) began when he joined Supersport United on a three-year deal from Township Rollers. His talent and dedication quickly caught the attention of the technical team, and he became a trusted member of the squad. In January 2023, he signed a five-year contract with Kaizer Chiefs, one of the biggest clubs in South African football. His performances during pre-season matches against Young African and Township Rollers showcased his potential and promised a bright future at Amakhosi.
The Acid Test:
As the season progressed, Ditlhokwe faced several challenges. His first test came against Chippa United, where he and his defensive partner, Given Msimango, managed to keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw. However, miscommunication between the defense and goalkeeper Riyaard Pieterse led to a 2-1 defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns. Despite this setback, Ditlhokwe and Msimango redeemed themselves in subsequent matches, guiding Chiefs to a 3-0 victory against TS Galaxy and a 2-0 win against Stellenbosch.
The Impact of Coaching Changes:
Chiefs’ frequent changes in coaching staff can potentially affect Ditlhokwe’s performance and place in the team. The departure of Coach Molefi Ntseki, who had shown faith in Ditlhokwe, raised questions about whether the new coach would retain him as a regular starter. The arrival of Cavin Johnson as the interim coach saw Ditlhokwe maintain his place in the starting lineup, but the team continued to struggle defensively, conceding goals in matches against Golden Arrows and Cape Town City.
The Need for Consistency:
Ditlhokwe’s consistent presence in the starting lineup is commendable, but he must not become complacent. As competition for accolades and starting positions intensifies, he needs to work even harder to improve the team’s defensive record. Chiefs’ recent signing of his former Supersport United teammate adds further competition for the starting berth, making it crucial for Ditlhokwe to maintain his high level of performance.
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe’s journey at Kaizer Chiefs has been impressive, with his consistent performances earning him a regular place in the starting lineup. However, he must avoid complacency and continue to work hard to improve the team’s defensive record. The frequent changes in coaching staff at Chiefs add an element of uncertainty, making it essential for Ditlhokwe to prove himself to each new coach. By remaining focused and dedicated, Ditlhokwe can solidify his position in the team and contribute to the success of Amakhosi.
The Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) recently organized a successful Boxing National Championships, sponsored by Maun Quarries and Tau Grading, with a generous amount of P100,000. This financial support is a welcome development for the boxing fraternity, as it has been almost a decade since such a windfall was received. The championships showcased the incredible skills of boxers like Mmusi Tswiigi, who achieved a remarkable victory by Referee Stop Contest (RSC). However, despite this success, BOBA acknowledges the need to improve and participate in international competitions to increase the chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.
National Championships Success:
The Boxing National Championships witnessed outstanding performances from various boxers. Mmusi Tswiigi’s victory by RSC highlighted his exceptional skills and determination. Other notable performers included Rajab Mahommed, Maxwell Sechi, Thabang Chakalisa, Kerapetse Segole, Joel Kgogobi, Botshelo Thomologo, Otsile Mogobye, Mompoloki Sebula, Kenaope Boifang, Solomon Motshwarakgole, Keamogetse Kenosi, and Tshephang Moilwa. These boxers demonstrated their talent and dedication, bringing pride to the nation.
The Road to the Olympics:
Despite the success at the National Championships, BOBA Secretary General, Taolo Tlouetsile, acknowledges that more needs to be done to secure a spot at the Paris Olympics. Tlouetsile emphasizes the importance of international exposure for local boxers to gauge their readiness for such competitions. He recognizes that the opponents in international competitions are more active and challenging, making it crucial for local boxers to participate in various international events.
The local pugilists faced difficulties during the Paris 2024 Boxing Africa Qualifiers held in Senegal. Most of the boxers were eliminated in the preliminary rounds, with only Keamogetse Kenosi making it to the quarterfinals. The lack of preparation due to financial constraints hindered their performance. The absence of training camps and exposure to international competitions affected their readiness and ability to compete at the highest level.
To secure a place at the Paris Olympics, local boxers must now focus on the upcoming qualification tournaments. The 1st World Qualification Tournament is scheduled to take place in Busto Arsizio, Italy, from 29 February to 12 March 2024, followed by the 2nd World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, from 23 May to 3 June 2024. These tournaments provide another opportunity for local boxers to showcase their skills and qualify for the Olympics.
The Way Forward:
BOBA National Team Coach, Thebe Setlalekgosi, acknowledges the talent of the boxers but highlights the financial constraints that have hindered their progress. Setlalekgosi emphasizes the need for proper training camps to prepare the team adequately. He expresses his disappointment at missing the International Boxing Association (IBA) Junior World Championships, which could have served as valuable preparation for future boxers. Setlalekgosi proposes a training camp from the first week of December until February to ensure the team is in top shape for the upcoming qualifiers.
The recent success of the Boxing National Championships sponsored by Maun Quarries and Tau Grading is a positive step for BOBA. However, the association recognizes the need for international exposure and participation to improve the chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. Financial constraints have been a significant challenge, affecting the preparation and performance of local boxers. With upcoming qualification tournaments, it is crucial for BOBA to prioritize training camps and international competitions to give their boxers the best chance at success. By addressing these challenges, BOBA can pave the way for a brighter future in boxing and bring glory to Botswana on the Olympic stage.
Crunch time has arrived for the Mares, the women’s senior national team of Botswana, as they face a crucial encounter against Kenya, also known as the Harambee Starlets.
This match will determine their qualification for the WAFCON 2024 tournament, and the fate of the Mares hangs in the balance. Under the guidance of their new coach, Alex Malete, the team carries a slight advantage with an away goal from the first leg.
Adding to their confidence, the Mares received a major boost with the inclusion of newly appointed Zebras head coach, Didier Gomes Da Rosa, in their technical team. Da Rosa’s appointment as the Director of Football for all national teams, including the women’s team, shows the commitment of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to support the growth and development of women’s football in the country.
The history between these two teams is not extensive, with only two previous encounters. The last match took place in 2015 during the 2016 Olympic qualifiers. The Mares won the first leg 2-1 but lost the second leg 1-0, resulting in the Harambee Starlets advancing to the next round based on aggregate score.
Both teams have their sights set on making their second appearance in the WAFCON tournament. The Harambee Starlets made their debut in the 2016 edition held in Cameroon, and now they aim to secure their next appearance. Similarly, the Mares are eager to make their mark and showcase their progress since their last participation.
In the first leg of this crucial tie, the Mares faced early attacks from the home side but found their rhythm midway through the first half. Keitumetse Dithebe, an attacker from Gaborone United, broke the deadlock with a goal in the 37th minute. However, the Harambee Starlets quickly responded with a penalty kick just before halftime, leveling the score. The second half saw sustained attacks from the Kenyan side, but the Mares held firm at the back, ensuring the match ended in a stalemate.
The Mares can rely on the experience and skill of players like Refilwe Tholakele and Sedilame Bosija, who recently won the CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns. Tholakele, awarded the Golden Boot, played a pivotal role in her team’s historic triumph, scoring two goals in the final. Her success highlights the significance of her contribution to the Mares’ campaign.
As the Mares head into this crucial clash, they must draw on their collective strength and determination. The opportunity to qualify for WAFCON 2024 is within their grasp, and they must seize it. With the support of their coach, the inclusion of Da Rosa in the technical team, and the talent of their players, the Mares have the potential to rewrite their own history and make a lasting impact on women’s football in Botswana.