Police XI chairman, Solomon Mantswe, has commended his inexperienced side for performing beyond their expectations in the just ended 2013/14 be-Mobile Premier League season.
The Jungle Kings finished the season in position seven with 39 points with a squad made up untested players in their maiden season.
In their last game of the campaign, the Jungle Kings lost 1-0 away to Motlakase in Palapye a game which the law enforcers could have salvaged something positive from but for poor finishing.
“If anyone says we underperformed this season that would not be fair. It is not easy to survive in your first season let alone end up in top eight. We could have done better if it was not because of the six consecutive losses we suffered recently. I remember that at some stage we were in the neck-to-neck with Gaborone United (who are sitting on position four) and maybe we could be singing a different tune if it was not because of the losses. Police XI were their own enemies in the games we lost,” said Police XI boss. After starting the campaign well, the Jungle Kings’ spark fizzed out in the last eight games of the season.
In that period, they managed a single draw and seven losses. The Jungle Kings got promoted at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign following their de-registration in 2012 after they failed to meet the deadline of paying Botswana Football Association (BFA) subscription fee.
“It was a painful experience since it was the first time happened to a top-flight team in Botswana. I think we learnt a lot from that going forward. We’re not blaming anyone for our mishap and all we’re saying is that the case could have been handled better,” the police chief continued.
After the performance of his little-known players this season, Mantswe noted that it is important to give them a well-deserved break to recharge their batteries.
He believes that his players earned valuable experience this season which would benefit them next season.
“It was a learning curve for the players and I can assure you that we have identified our weaknesses this season and we’ll rectify them. We’re going into the market to beef up our squad. While the players will be resting, we’ll meet with the technical committee to see who we need to bring in,” he said.
Mantswe who has never hidden his love for young players pointed out that some of the players they would be signing would come from their development side, Mogobane United.
He said that it is important to have young players in the team who would take over once the seniors fade away.
“This season we had four youngsters in our starting line-up. We have some intelligent and talented youngsters in the development and we’ll keep on promoting them,” he said.
The other issue which Mantswe feels that it is of utmost importance in the season ahead is marketing the club. He said that recruiting supporters as an institutional side has always been a challenge but he remains confident that things will change soon.
He pointed out that they would start their recruitment within the force before spreading their wings outside.
“Our PRO (publicity officer) Jason Chabota is leading our campaign and they will not relax during off-season. We will be happy if we can have at least 100 supporters rallying at every home game,” he remarked.
Police XI recently got a sponsorship worth P1 million from Dynamics Insurance Brokers which will run over two seasons.