Tafic stamp down on Systems
Despite suffering an early scare, Tafic FC kept their unbeaten home record alive on Saturday, fighting back from a goal down to de-arm Security Systems and escape with all three points.
While Phillimon Makwengwe’s Matjimenyenga Boys should not be getting carried away just yet – and in the level-headed Makwengwe they have a coach who will ensure this does not happen – Tafic are fast turning the Obed Itani Chilume stadium into a fortress.
The 2-1 success over Systems means the Reds have now collected seven points from their opening three games in Ghetto, a decent draw against Orapa preceding a 3-1 walloping of Morupule Wanderers.
If they can maintain this sort of form, the newly-promoted Francistowners will be well clear of the dreaded drop zone, a place they know all too well and which this season has been extended to four teams.
Relegated in their previous three Premier League campaigns, 2014, 2018 and 2020, Tafic were in danger of becoming a ‘yo-yo club’.
However, with sponsors PetroHyper pumping the Pula in and the vastly-experienced Makwengwe dictating tactics to a young, hungry squad, stability now seems a distinct possibility.
Although they rode their luck at the weekend, Rebaone Joseph extremely fortunate not to see red for a two-footed lunge and Kenanao Kgetholetsile extremely unfortunate to see his header crash off the crossbar, Tafic were worthy winners in the end.
As is so often the case, they had to do it the hard way, falling behind to veteran striker, Kgetholetsile’s assured finish in the 20th minute.
Entering the twilight stage of a glittering career, the 40-year-old ‘Floh’ showed he still has plenty to offer, causing the Tafic backline countless problems with his pace and power. The former Township Rollers and Extension Gunners favorite has swiftly established himself as a key player for systems; if they are to recapture the ‘glory days’ of 2020, when they suffered final day heartache to miss out on the league title by two points, Kgetholetsile will surely be at the heart of it.
Their lead lasted just six minutes, keeper, Kabelo Kuti making a mess of what should have been a routine save, spilling the ball at the feet of Montsi Dichaba, who gleefully tapped home.
It was another mistake that gifted Tafic the win.
Desperate to clear his lines, defender, Larona Modisaemang attempted a spectacular, and unnecessary, bicycle kick. Instead of the ball, Modisamang’s boot connected with substitute, Modise Modipe’s face, leaving the referee with little option but to point to the spot.
It marked a painful end to a bright cameo from Modipe, who looked lively when he came on and was unlucky not to score with a long-range lob, which brushed the bar.
After a lengthy delay while Modipe received treatment, Boemo Lekorwe kept his cool to dispatch the penalty and seal the precious points.
Attention now turns to Phikwe and Nico United, as Tafic look to replicate their home fire on the road. Seeking a first away win, which, if results go their way could leave Tafic just a point off top spot, the intriguing match-up pits father against son (see back page).
Meanwhile, after a solid start to the season, picking up seven points from a possible nine, Systems have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the north, the Tafic loss coming after a 3-1 defeat to Sua Flamingoes.
The alarm bells aren’t quite ringing yet, although the Alarm Boys will be keen to get back to winning ways, starting with a tough encounter against BDF XI on Sunday.