The ball started rolling way back in 1992 during its inauguration after replacing what was then known as Lion’s Cup. The final proved to be mouthwatering and involved a northern team against one from the south of the country.
Gunners were up against Tafic and the former emerged 3-2 winners but it was not an easy game at all.
Tafic then had great players like the late Jomo ‘Nobody’ Mosweu’ and Best Belt Sechele. Gunners, on the other hand, had a fearsome team that had the same year won the league and would also repeat the same feat for two following seasons.
For Gunners players that come to mind are the likes of Edison Mulubwa, Kennedy ‘Computer’ Jerry and Mosepele ‘Teenage’ Moswai. Although the Peleng boys then had a weak defence even unconvincing goalkeeping, their strong position was the midfield and the striking force.
The years 1993 to 1996 belonged to none other than Township Rollers. Winning it three times in four years was not a joke and Rollers then meant serious business. Although Rollers lost the plot in 1995 after being knocked out by BDF XI in the quarter finals, they consoled themselves by winning the league.
The 1993 season was so special in the sense that Rollers defeated their bitter rivals, Gaborone United (GU).
Before the game, GU had defeated Rollers in every game they had met but Rollers made sweet revenge by scoring four goals to one.
GU’s consolation goal was scored by Patrick Zibotchwa while for Rollers, Desmond Molefhe scored a brace. The other goals came from Mmoni ‘States” Segopolo and then new recruit, Shammie Hunidzarira.
Although the danger man for Rollers, Joseph Chikoti, did not score, he was the one who was opening up the impregnable GU defence made up of Gofamodimo ‘City’ Senne, Rapelang ‘Razor’ Tsatsilebe’ Listen Kealotswe and Mlungisi Kopi.
In 1994 Rollers then met the other rivals, Gunners, and Rollers won 2-0.
Before the finals, many thought the Blues would not make it because they escaped from the semi-finals by a whisker. They needed sudden death penalties to defeat stubborn Police XI who were then campaigning in the First Division.
Against Gunners, the hero of the match was none other than Thabo Motang who made many mighty saves, including a penalty.
In 1995, Notwane took the Cup after beating BDF XI by 3-1 but, a year later ,Rollers were once again back with a bang. They met BMC, which they easily edged 2-0, thanks once again to the prowess of Chikoti.
After the finals, Chikoti was snatched by South African side Wits University and since then, Rollers are yet to find his replacement.
The year 1997 saw a new dimension of the tournament when a First Division team from Ramotswa, Mokgosi Young Fighters, made it to the finals after being led by Ezekiel Mpofu.
Unfortunately, lack of experience cost them as Notwane beat them 2-0.
The years 1998-2001 saw the dominance of institutional army teams, being BDF XI, Mogoditshane Fighters and Tasc. At that time, institutional teams recruited most of their players from community teams, players like Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul, Masego Nchingane were in the army teams.
In 1998, BDF XI scored a solitary goal against Jwaneng Comets under the tutelage of Losika Keatlholetswe. The following year, it was Fighters’ turn; they put three past then green horses, FC Satmos.
In 2000, Major David Bright’s boys won it for the second successive season. They had to sweat against GU because the game had to be decided on penalties.
A new chapter was also written in 2001 as Tasc became the first team from the north to lift the cup after trouncing Notwane. The following year another northern team emulated Tasc.
Tafic won it after walloping the former on penalties.
In 2003 and 2004, army teams’ dominance cropped up. Bright won it for the third time after defeating Rollers 1-0 in the finals, courtesy of Mompati Banda’s goal. Rollers were then campaigning in the first division and the following year BDF XI defeated Fighters 2-0.
Rollers became the only team to win the tournament for the fourth time in 2005 after beating BDF XI 3-1 and they would go on to also win the league. A year later, Notwane won a controversial tournament by defeating BDF XI 2-1.
Many gave Rollers a chance to lift it, but boardroom politics interfered.. They lost the Cup despite defeating BDF XI 3-0 in the semi-finals.
2007 was the meat boys’ finals, BMC up against Ecco City Green.
BMC ended up winning it 5-4 on penalties. The results meant that Pio Paul, who was then coaching BMC, was the first person to win it as both coach and player. In his playing days, he won it four times, three with Rollers and once with BDF XI. Last year, Mochudi Centre Chiefs won it for the first time in their history after beating Uniao Flamengo Santos 5-2 in a cracking final.
The finals even launched the career of enterprising player, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele.
Who will do it this year?