Matjiminyenga ready to take on the big boys.
After three seasons in the wilderness, Tafic Football Club are back where Francistowners believe they belong – fighting it out in Botswana’s first tier league.
Matjiminyenga got off to a shaky start a fortnight ago, losing 2-1 to defending champions Township Rollers in a hotly contested match at the Francistown Sports Complex.
Despite the result, Tafic’s spirited performance against Popa suggested they were good enough to survive in the top flight.
Three days later, Maxwell Moyo’s charges followed up their opening day loss with a convincing 2-1 victory against
The win marked Tafic’s first three points in the Premier League since a 6-0 thrashing of Orapa United back on the 15th of March 2014.
The optimism currently surrounding the Reds makes a mockery of the problems that dogged their pre-season preparations.
The team was in financial crisis, their negotiations with coach Dragojlo Stanojlovic fell through as it became apparent that The Reds had nothing in the kitty to pay the Serbian.
As the start of the league approached, Matjimenyenga were without a coach.
Their last minute appointment of former Ecco City mentor Moyo, meant the Zimbabwean was not able to get a work permit in time for the opener.
Without a sponsor, the Francistown giants were operating on zero budget after their fundraising initiatives failed to raise enough money to even pay players salaries.
The Reds were desperate and Voice Sport has it on good authority that they wrote a letter to the Premier League asking for an advance payment of the monthly grant.
However, Tafic’s football Gods must have been watching from above.
The decision by the Botswana Premier League to launch the new season in Francistown, where they squared off with Rollers, proved to be a life saviour.
“The little we got from gate takings breathed life into the team,” revealed team Spokesperson, Warrant Kololo.
The PRO said the team also received a television grant in the region of P25, 000, which went a long way towards covering the outstanding bills.
“Its no secret that we don’t have a sponsor, we are heavily dependent on gate takings and monthly grants from the league,” Kololo told Voice Sport.
The Matjiminyenga mouthpiece said after the Rollers match and the unexpected television grant, they were able to settle players’ outstanding salaries and all other administrative bills.
“Players received their salaries last Friday. The salaries were right in time for the independence celebrations,” added Kololo.
He further stressed that this time around Tafic are in the league to stay.
“We have a long-term plan. We have a fully functioning office with two full-time employees and I’m confident that we’ll meet all the club licensing requirements,” he said.
Tafic were amongst 11 teams given a second chance to have their offices in order to comply with the requirements set by the committee.
Kololo said they will submit an audited report in two weeks time, which was the only requirement missing from their previous application.
“We are getting a 100 percent this time,” he promised.
Kololo was also optimistic that their Zimbabwean players, Samuel Phiri, Ocean Mpofu and Kawashi Makai will get their work permits before the third round of league matches on the 14th October.
“We faced challenges with our foreign players including coach Maxwell Moyo whose permits are still being processed,” he said.
Kololo told Voice Sports that Phiri was supposed to face Rollers as he was given a residence permit waiver, only to learn that his former employers Miscellaneous were yet to cancel his contract.
“It was unfortunate but the immigration office is working on it and I’m hopeful that he’ll be available by next weekend,” he said.
Makai, who has turned out for Police XI and FC Platinum in Zimbabwe, faces the same predicament as his homeboy and former Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Gilport Lions player, Mpofu.
The duo’s fate is in the hands of the immigration department, and Tafic can only hope that their paperwork will be completed before their date with BDF XI on the 14th in Molepolole.
Moyo is also awaiting clearance from the Immigration officials. ‘Malume’ as he’s affectionately known had to rush back home to Zimabwe to get original copies of his CAF B coaching licence.
“It was an administrative issue. He was required to produce original copies and he duly obliged,” Kololo explained.
“Things are in order at Tafic. Everyone thought it was going to be a train smash against Rollers but we gave them a run for their money.
“We are back and we are going to hurt a lot of teams,” was Kololo’s parting shot.