Matjimenyenga closing in on promotion
After three years and several ups and downs on the dusty first division grounds, Francistown favourites, Tafic FC, look near certainties to return to top flight football.
Six points clear of second-placed Chadibe FC with just four matches remaining, Matjimenyenga would have to suffer an almighty collapse to miss out on automatic promotion to the Premier League.
The Reds have been rampant this season – a stark contrast to their recent struggles.
Matjimenyenga Boys, who were ruthlessly dumped out of the elite league by an executive, Covid-enforced decision in 2020 with ten games still to play, had to hit rock bottom before bouncing back to reclaim their status as one of the country’s biggest football clubs.
Rescued from relegation to division one obscurity thanks to Angelic intervention from fellow Francistowners’ Eleven Angels, Undipe ndi Kupe have not looked back since surviving the play-offs.
They began the 2022/23 campaign with renewed vigor and immediately set their eyes on promotion.
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Now, 18 games and 38 points later, with just two loses, the Reds are on verge of rejoining the big boys.
However, Coach Thatayaone Sonny’s charges have to navigate a tricky run in, which includes a trip to free-scoring Chadibe, in a fixture that pits the league’s best attack against its best defence, as well as a home game against Motlakase Power Dynamos, who sit third in the log and harbour faint title hopes of their own.
They also play early pace-setters Mbalakalungu, who after a lightning start to the season have struggled of late.
Oozing with confidence, Chairman Tebogo Toteng believes it’s a matter of when, not if, Tafic are crowned the 2022/23 FDN Champions.
“We are very confident in our ability to get automatic promotion to the Premier League. We understand and embrace the pressure. Our fans can rest assured that their team will be playing in the Premier League next season,” he declared with serious conviction.
The Chairman said despite the challenges that come with the business of football, including a behind-the-scenes fall out in February that briefly saw Toteng quit the club, the journey has largely been a pleasant one.
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“Since PetroHyper Botswana came fully on board, everything is running smoothly on and off the field. We are all pulling in the same direction and that is towards the Premier League,” he said.
The Chairman further sent a warning to Premier League teams, as Tjimenyenga readies to pop the champagne.
“We are not just going to add numbers. This is not like the old days when we just wanted to avoid relegation. With PetroHyper behind us, our fans should know that we are going to seriously compete for honours,” said Toteng.
Legendary Tafic defender, Palace ‘Juluka’ Hubona, who has watched all the matches this season, also believes the team is in the right track.
“We started slowly, winning most of our matches 1-0, but despite this we scraped results and collected important points early on,” he told Voice Sport, noting much of Tafic’s success has been built on a steely defence breeched just eight times so far.
Hubona said the arrival of the new coach saw Tafic becoming an attacking force capable of averaging three goals each week.
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“He’s attack minded, and you see that even during his training sessions. He wants more goals, and that’s good for the team!”
Giving a slightly more cautious view, another fan favourite, Zeco Makafiri warned Tafic supporters not to take things for granted and believe the team will easily win their remaining matches.
“We’ve to be united and help the team cross the finish line. We’re at the top, and all the eleven teams below us wants to bring us down,” said Makafiri.
The legendary former defensive midfielder said preparing for the life in the Premier League should start now.
“It’s a good thing that we’ve an investor and our players are happy. We need to reinforce our squad with a few additions and I believe we’ll be ready to compete. We’ve young quality players,” concluded Makafiri optimistically.