Coca cola is unarguably the oldest tournament in the history of Botswana soccer. It is also one tournament that has a large following, especially when one of the large community teams is in action.
So far, Township Rollers are the proclaimed kings of the tournament after winning it for a record four times and have permanently kept the first trophy.
Mogoditshane Fighters and Notwane, on the other hand, have won it three times apiece.
The tournament was very exciting from the year of its inception in 1992. Games were always attended by large numbers and stadiums were always packed.
Momentum went down a bit from 1998 to 2004 and those were the years when the institutional teams were in control. This led to many supporters attending the games in numbers because teams bankrolled by the government were calling the shots.
Also those were the years when ‘war’ erupted between the community and institutional teams.
Community teams formed a parallel soccer body called the Botswana Soccer Association (BOSA).
Gunners made history by winning the tournament’s first edition in 1992 and that was the same year they also won the league.
The 1993 finals were even more awesome in a way that pitted two bitter Gaborone rivals, Township Rollers and Gaborone United (GU). That was also the time before Rollers had ever defeated GU and the latter always had it easy against Mapalastina. Even before the game, GU knew that they were going to send Rollers packing.
Rollers went to the extent of not using the main entrance of the stadium, alleging that GU was bewitching them. Rollers broke the ice through Desmond Molefhe just before half time and when the second half resumed, GU equalised through Patrick Zibotchwa and, after the goal, old memories started haunting Rollers. But it was not to be when Segopolo scored from a volley following Biki Motubudi’s throw in. Latter the danger man, Joseph Chikoti, was brought down and Molefhe scored from the spot. Then new signing, Shammie Hunidzarira, scored the fourth goal.
The result did not go down well with GU supporters because a few weeks latter, the whole executive committee was dissolved.
In 1994, Rollers beat a stubborn Gunners, who also wanted another brace, because it is also the year they won the league.
It should be borne in mind that goalkeeper Thabo Motang saved Rollers dearly. At one stage Rollers were leading by a goal and he saved a penalty before they wrapped it up.
The 1997 finals were also worthy writing home about. Notwane then played against the Ramotswa-based side, Mokgosi Young Fighters. Mokgosi were then campaigning in the First Division. They were the first team from the lower division to play in the finals.
Rollers were the second team to do so in 2003 and lost by a solitary goal to Mogoditshane Fighters, courtesy of Mompati Banda’s goal. It was the finals that set many people’s tongues wagging because then Rollers player, Tshepo Molefhe (now at GU) refused to be substituted and then Rollers coach, Sonny Boy Sethibe, resigned saying he could not coach an undisciplined team.
The 2006 edition was controversial to the extent that the matter went as far as the high court. Rollers beat BDF XI 3-0 in the semi-finals and they were without their top striker, Bernard Simakwenzi who was alleged to be a defaulter. The decision was latter reversed and a replay was ordered which Rollers did not honour and BDF XI was given the green light to the finals. Rollers tried to stop the game by going to the High Court and they were turned down. Notwane went on to beat BDF XI 2-1.
To date, former Rollers player, Segopolo, is the only player with a remarkable achievement in the tournament. He won the tournament with Rollers in 1993, 94, 96 and 2005. He was also part of the losing finalists in 2003.
Previous Coca Cola
(Gunners 3, Tafic 2)
1993: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 4, GU 1)
1994: Township Rollers
Township Rollers, 2 Gunners 0
(Notwane 3, BDF XI 1)
1996: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 2, BMC 0)
(Notwane 2, Mokgosi 0)
1998: BDF XI
(BDF XI 1, Jwaneng Comets 0)
1999: Mogoditshane Fighters
(Mogoditshane Fighters 3, FC Satmos 0)
2000: Mogoditshane Fighters
Tasc 2, Gunners 0
(Tafic beat Tasc on penalties)
2003: Mogoditshane Fighters
Mogoditshane Fighters 1, Township Rollers 0)
2004: BDF XI
(BDF 2, Fighters 0)
2005: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 3, BDF XI 1)
(Notwane 2, BDF XI 1)
(BMC 5 ECCO City 4, after penalties)