After three years in football wilderness, Tafic Football Club finally made their long awaited entrance in the elite league when they played Township Rollers at the Francistown Sports Complex yesterday (Saturday).
For the Matjimenyenga boys, as the team is affectionately known, the debut marked the start of a long journey to survive and find a permanent seat at the Botswana Premier League (BPL) banquet table.
Tafic FC Chairman, Thomas Maika, announced that their goal for the BTC Premier League season is not to win but to penetrate and stay in the league.
He said this when addressing a fully packed audience who came to witness the official launch of the new Tafic squad and their novel kit.
“Our dream is to come and stay in the league. Hopefully one day we will be able to win the league,” Maika said.
Despite this optimism, Tafic FC, as with other teams in the elite league, the road will be rough. Team General Manager (GM) Onalenna Ditlhakanyana, says the team’s ascent came with its own challenges.
Chief among these is the lack of sponsors or partners. In spite of the excitement that came with the team’s promotion, and it being the only Premier league team in Francistown, Tafic is still ‘operating with absolutely no sponsors.’
“If you look very closely at our kit, you will notice that there is only one emblem on the shirts and that is the Tafic emblem. But when you look at other teams in the league you notice they have affiliate emblems. So we are flying solo for now. But our marketing executive knocks on company doors every day to source sponsors,” said Ditlhakanyana.
With no sponsors coming on board, the Tafic FC GM said they are hoping that Francistown residents will chip in and rescue their situation. He said they are currently relying on individual contributions which are barely enough.
The GM however said despite their challenges, they are fully armed and ready going into the league. He said they have signed 11 players who bring different experiences and passions. He added that of the 11 players, 3 are Zimbabwean nationals.
“We were aiming at including experience in each department for guidance. One is a defender, one a middle fielder and the other is on the up-front. Even our goalkeeper is experienced, he has played for Gilport Lions,” he said.
The team also shields itself with the technical experience of their coach, Maxwell Malome Moyo. Ditlhakanyana said Moyo has been in the premier league before and is ready to take the boys to new heights.
“The coach has a great track record; he won the league when he coached Ecco, he won the coca cola league while at Gunners. He coached Orapa Utd and his last coaching job was at Police 11,” he marveled.
While emphasizing that he cannot reveal their technical plan for the season, he however concurred with the team Chairman that ‘their intention is to maintain their stay in the league.’
Meanwhile, the team has gone into a twelve month technical partnership with E Viola manufactures which is owned by former Tafic player Maokaneng Bontshetse. Bontshetse said his vision is to see his favorite team take his business name places.
“We are where we are today because of Tafic, I was surprised when we got clients in far places like Gantsi and Hukuntsi. This is a two way relationship, (undipe ndi kupe) meaning, you take what you give,” he said.
He added that they will be dressing the boys from head to toe for the tune of up to P150 000-00 and encouraged every supporter in Francistown to wear the jersey to show their loyalty and support for the team.