Tafic frustrate Orapa on BPL return
After three years in the dusty wilderness of Division One, Tafic marked their return to the Premier League’s green grass with a defiant 1-1 draw against Orapa United on Saturday.
In front of a decent crowd at the cavernous 26, 000-seater Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, the Reds showed real resolve to fight back from a goal down and salvage a point.
With the scorching sun still beating down with intense fury when the match got underway at 4pm, the energy-sapping conditions made for a slow, scrappy start to the game. Going forward, the BPL would do well to consider moving kick-off times closer to 5pm, when the heat has cooled off slightly!
Bossing possession, Orapa, who are looking to build on last season’s third-placed finish, pushed and probed without really threatening Tafic keeper, Thatayaone Thandazela and his well-organised back four.
Matjimenyenga, on the other hand, were content to hit on the counter, although all too often their breakaways broke down due to sloppy passing.
With the game drifting and seemingly heading for a goalless first half, the battle burst into life in the 45th minute thanks to a moment of quality from Mpho Kgaswane.
The highly-rated Kgaswane whipped in a delicious free-kick from just outside the box, defender Wilfred Muvirimi afforded the freedom of Francistown to nod the ball home.
Stung into action, Tafic hit back with a header of their own almost immediately, Vincent Lekorwe meeting Montsi Dichaba’s corner at the near post with what was the last touch of the half.
The milder temperatures made for an entertaining second 45, with both sides squandering half chances to claim all three points.
Reflecting on a hard-earned point, newly appointed Tafic Coach, Philemon Makwengwe, noted it was a base to build on.
“This is their first game and they had anxiety. I might have put pressure on them when I said we shouldn’t lose the game. It was an intense game, we were playing against an experienced side, we are still building up,” was the experienced tactician’s assessment.
His opposite number, Orapa coach, Tawurayi Mangwiro, bemoaned his team’s inability to kill of the game
“We applied ourselves very well overall and were unfortunate not to get the three points. The issue we have as a squad is that we are unable to defend our lead, which has been happening for quite some time,” moaned Mangwiro.