Let the good times roll

George Moore
GOAL: A grounded Modipe opens the scoring

Terrific Tafic causing a splash

Although there was plenty of slipping and sliding on the pitch as the non-stop rains soaked the Old Francistown Stadium, Tafic avoided a potential slip-up with a sure-footed performance against new boys Rolling Guys at the weekend.

After last season’s disaster, in which they were rescued from relegation to the second division by Eleven Angels’ promotion via the play-offs, Matjimenyenga look a side transformed this time around.

Under newly-appointed Head Coach, Mohambi Saulosi, the club have assembled a squad bursting with young, talented players hungry to prove themselves in the First Division. With a new investor secured and waiting in the wings, the wet weather postponing his planned unveiling prior to kick-off, despite the dark clouds that hovered over the ground, the horizon looks increasingly bright for the Reds.

- Advertisement -

Their fine start to the season hit a new high in extremely tricky conditions on Saturday, when a relentless downpour turned the turf into a muddy, boggy swamp better suited to water-polo than football.

After the match, Saulosi admitted he felt it should have been cancelled, describing the sodden surface as dangerous, his mood not helped by a nasty looking injury to winger Thamani Muzila, who hobbled off with a twisted ankle two minutes from time.

Sadly, the inhospitable weather meant the huge crowd that was predicted never materialized, with only a handful of diehards attending the game.

Let the good times roll
WET, WET, WET: The puddle-riddled pitch

The few fanatics that did turn up were treated to a vintage 90 minutes from Matjimenyenga, albeit in slightly surreal circumstances, with players from both sides regularly taking a tumble and ending up on their bottoms.

Facing a relative unknown in the newly-promoted Rolling Guys, Tafic took control of proceedings right from the start, cutting through their opponents on several occasions and creating chances at will.

As the torrential rain beat down with furious intensity, the home side missed opportunity after opportunity, denied by a combination of wayward finishing – for which striker, Modise Modipe was particularly culpable – and the brilliance of Oabona Lekoko in the visitor’s net.

- Advertisement -

At times Lekoko resembled a one-man defence, saving three one-on-ones, clutching crosses and flying spectacularly through the air to tip shots away.

It meant that at the interval, much to Tafic’s disbelief, the score remained goalless.

It nearly got worse for the home side after the resumption, when, in a rare foray into their opposition’s half, Guys were awarded a penalty for handball – the decision only reversed when the referee realised he had missed the linesman flagging for off-side in the build-up.

It was a scare that shook Tafic from their second-half stupor.

With the hour mark approaching and Guys growing in confidence, Matjimenyenga finally got the goal to go with their earlier pressure.

- Advertisement -

From a floated Ntwakgolo Galemmone free-kick pumped high into the box, Modipe made amends for his early misses, flinging his body at the ball to send a stooping header past Lekoko.

Any chance of a comeback was killed minutes later. Racing through on goal, Modipe was pole-axed by the on-rushing keeper, leaving the ref with little option but to point to the spot, showing Lekoko a yellow card when the home fans howled for a red.

This time there was to be no reprieve from the linesman.

With a stuttering run-up, Nigel Gurure calmly rolled the penalty into the bottom corner to put the game to bed and send the fans home happy.

The result lifts Tafic up to third and stretches their unbeaten start to the season to four games – one of six teams in the 12-side Division One North yet to taste defeat.

With consecutive victories in the bank, they are already half-way to matching last season’s meager total, when they managed just four wins in 22 league outings!

Next up for Saulosi’s troops is a Sunday outing in Serowe, where Green Lovers await.

- Advertisement -

For Izinyokanyoka, the search for a first victory continues.

They return to Mahalapye this week for a home clash against fellow newbies and early pace-setters, Mbalakalungo.

After a solid start to the season for Coach, Otsile Meroma’s guys, in which they held BR Highlanders and then Green Lovers to draws, the Tafic loss leaves them a single point above Miscellaneous at the bottom; the need for a win is getting greater!

- Advertisement -

Leave a comment