There was once a period when institutional teams were the darlings of local soccer.
They whisked away any player they were interested in because they knew that they would give that player what other community teams would not.
Such incentives even went as far as giving them jobs with little hassles. Mogoditshane Fighters, Tasc, BDF XI and Police XI were always leading the packs.
Fighters were unstoppable under Major David Bright and Tasc, through Mogomotsi ‘Teenage Mpote and Tazza Seth Moleofhi were also unstoppable.
BDF XI, on the other hand, had Losikalame Keatlholetswe and recently-retired Stanley Tshosane.
There was even a time when the bulk of the national team was made up of institutional players. After community teams complained bitterly and went on to form a parallel soccer body in protest, it was agreed that institutions should support only one team.
The Army ended up chopping off Fighters and Tasc.
Supporting one team, it was expected that institutional teams would even be more dangerous.
That is not the case at all because almost all institutional teams are struggling.
BDF XI just returned from the playoff games while Prisons have been campaigning there for almost two years now. Police XI perform like a yo-yo because they just blow hot and cold.
With all the resources and time at their disposal, it was expected that institutional teams would fly high season after season.
A former BDF XI player, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Sunday Standard that the management of the team is to blame for the current situation the team finds itself in. He said most of them do not have the interests of the team at heart compared to previous ones.
“Can’t you ask yourself why a team with three national team players and which is under the guidance of the national team coach had to participate in play-offs? You can even see when the team plays that something is wrong and those players lack motivation. In the past we had a very good management which had the interests of the players at heart and, on top of that, they were very strict. The current situation tells you that somewhere something is wrong with our team and unless several changes are made, the team would continue to struggle,” he said.
The player also said that many players now prefer to join the community teams to enhance their chances of playing outside the country.
Since BDF seized to help Mogoditshane Fighters and Tasc, the going has not been smooth sailing.
Mogoditshane Fighters got relegated three seasons ago only to come back in the following one. They were nearly relegated again this past season but survived at the last minute.
Tasc, on the other hand, kissed the Premier League goodbye this year. Whether they will come back or not remains to be seen.
Shockingly, the former coaches of Mogoditshane Fighters and Tasc are doing exceptionally well at their respective teams.
Major David Bright has become the first local coach to coach a professional team in South Africa, CapeTown Santos. Tazza Moleofhi has just guided Great North Tigers into the Premier League, while his former assistant, coach Teenage Mpote, missed by a whisker to help Serowe side, Miscellaneous into the Premier League.
Efforts to get comment from both BDF XI and Police XI officials were futile at the time of going to press.