In the early 1990s, northern giants, Tafic, dominated the headlines in the media due to the enterprising style of football they displayed. The Tafic side, which reached the 1992 Coca-Cola Cup final, is still considered to be the best ever in the history of the club. Though they narrowly lost the game 3-2 to Extension Gunners, their supporters left the National Stadium in Gaborone with their heads up.
Whenever they played at home, Tafic used to play before a capacity crowd and they feared nobody. The late Jomo Mosweu, Leonard Matenge, Carlos Tawana, Mmoloki Sechele, Palace Hubona, Wrist Mmusi, Ace Phukula, Itumeleng Duiker are some of the players who brought joy to the hordes of Tafic fans.
Under the leadership of their financer, Geoffrey Maygillip, the northern giants were one of the most organized teams in our league. It was a dream of every footballer growing up in the north to don the famous red and white jersey.
Maygillip left the club owing to internal politics but TAFIC still remained the force. When some of the crop of players who played in the 1990s left, changes started showing up in their squad but they were not that serious as they still remained a competitive force. They still managed to reach the 2002 Coca-Cola Cup final against neighbours Tasc which they won penalties.
Till then, Tafic still remained the Pride of Francistown. Over the past few years, things have never been the same at ‘Machimenyenga’ despite reports that they were turning the club into a private company. Politics seemed to take control of the team and some harsh words were exchanged along the way.
In the process, Tafic failed some of their most prized players, especially foreigners. In the current campaign, the situation has worsened with players at times going on strike demanding their wages. Ahead of their game against BR Highlanders last Tuesday, which they lost 1-0, Tafic players once again threatened to boycott the game after the chairman made some false promises.
It is alleged that on their way to Selebi-Phikwe the players threatened to score own goals as punishment to management. As fate would have it, Tafic defender Buyani Kgomotso scored against his own goalkeeper to give the Mahalapye-based side a rare win. After their 1-0 win over Mochudi Centre Chiefs recently, Zambian coach Dominic Changwe sent an SOS message to the club’s supporters but nothing has changed. Ahead of the weekend’s games, Tafic was lying in 10th spot with 28 points from 25 games but they are not safe from the relegation axe.
If things do not go their way in the remaining five games, they might as well be campaigning in the lower ranks come next season. But the question is what could have gone wrong at Tafic?
Former Tafic midfield kingpin Mmoloki ‘BB’ Sechele feels that it is time for all those associated with the club to come together to save the club from going down.
“There is a need for us to come together and put our personal differences aside. It is petty issues which have killed Tafic. There are lots of people out there who can help but they are driven away by pettiness. I was once in the technical team but I was driven away by the same supporters who are crying out for help now. I love the club so much and it will be sad if they were to be relegated,” said Sechele.
He added that the other thing which is killing the team is that there are no leaders in the current squad. As much as he has a soft spot for young players, he believes that you need experienced campaigners when the going gets tough.
“During our days, we used to play for the badge but the current players are after money. Even if the management did not do something right, we would play to win before complaining,” he said.