After an automatic promotion into the Botswana Premier League (BPL) from First Division, Masitaoka football club are optimistic that they will bring the fight to the teams in the league.
Following their acquisition of national first division status, Masitaoka navigated an interesting and highly competitive Debswana First Division South League to win promotion at first attempt.
Godfrey Ratlhaga who is the Molepolole based outfit’s communications and marketing manager, said the team started life in Division 1 as it was ‘new in the league and learning.’
“After the 5th game we knew what to expect and we started picking points,” he explained. “At some point, we went 6 games without conceding a single goal and by December break we were in contention for the log championship. When the league resumed in January we continued where we left off and with a bit of aggression until we took control of the log summit until the end of the league, hence eventually being declared Champions,” Ratlhaga explained.
Now as they prepare for life in the elite league, Masitaoka will be hoping to draw from the lessons learnt in the DFDS to survive.
When asked if they are ready to play in the big league, Ratlhaga had this to say: “We have always been looking for our rightful place, we deserve to be here and Botswana Football needs us here, we will learn the league and compete to our fullest potential in the league.”
However, Ratlhaga noted that they are preparing slightly in a different manner than when they were at first division.
“Our program like everyone has been affected by COVID-19 but we are hard at work in trying to find the rhythm again. We are confident it will all pay off,” he said.
As much as they expect the elite league to be a much more different animal than the first division, Ratlhaga says they look forward to it with optimism.
“We are well aware of the challenge ahead but we are more excited than scared, hence we cannot wait to kick a BPL ball.”
At the moment, the Masitaoka PRO said they are organizing financial and human resources to enable them to compete. This he said includes player identification and recruitment.
For their survival, Ratlhaga highlighted that the team’s vociferous support base will be very crucial.
“We were formed and are based in Molepolole, one of the most populated villages in the country. We are representing Kweneng Football Association, we are representing DFDS, we are a National Brand, hence we pray for open stadiums,” he said.
He however cautioned supporters not to get overly ambitious but to first ‘accept this is a new level.’
“We should limit our expectations and apply ourselves the best way we can and organize ourselves early on through our branches. Our responsibility has not and will never change, let’s support and love our team, our joy, our pride,” added Ratlhaga.
He added that the team is currently undertaking membership drive initiatives as it seeks to take its place as a big brand.
“We are looking for and consolidating partnerships. We will launch in the near future and make our stakeholders known,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ratlhaga said the team has already introduced its first BPL shirt. “It is current, dense in blue, white and yellow. The shirt is available at JB stores for only BWP 395.00,” he concluded.