When they got promotion back to the elite league at Botswana Railways Stadium in Mahalapye in 2006 there was a lot of peace amongst the Red Devils’ fans. They were clad in red and white colours cheering their side throughout 90 minutes. In the end, they hugged and kissed as they celebrated what has not been an easy ride back to the top. Over the couple of years, the peace and love which prevailed in Mahalapye on that day has faded away which in the end caused some tensions.
Since the beginning of the season it was clear that all was not well in TAFIC camp as some of the diehards questioned the credibility of some of the shareholders. The infighting forced chairman Humphrey Nawa out of his position and interim committee was elected to lead the club. “I think it was the selfishness of some of the people who claim to have the interests of the club at heart which led to our relegation. There were some hotheads who said Nawa bought the shares in the club without putting money on the table. Under Nawa, the club was sustainable and we would have not relegated. As we speak those people who ousted Nawa are nowhere to be seen,” said a source close to the developments.
Following Nawa’s departure, the club was led by interim chairman Gilbert Makombo but things have never been rosy under his leadership. While Makombo had lots of following at Kgaphamadi location, it was his lack of financial muscle which made life difficult for him. “Makombo has never been a true leader and I want to believe that things got worse under his leadership. That is why he has been nowhere to be seen since the beginning of the year,” the source added. In recent times, TAFIC have been surviving through the support of The Voice Newspaper shareholder Don Moore. Under Moore, Matjimenyenga looked promising but their revival was too little too late. Their relegation was confirmed last weekend when they lost 3-1 to Premier League pacesetters Township Rollers. While it was hard to accept their fate, TAFIC fans would be unrealistic if they say they never saw it coming.
TAFIC goalkeeper coach Wrist Mmusi said, “It was never going to be easy to survive if our office was not in order. It all started when we failed to have a pre-season because of the conflicts. Instead of crying over spilled milk, all is needed at the present moment is for all the relevant stake holders to come together and sort out their differences for the sake of the club.” Mmusi played for the most feared TAFIC outfit in the 90s and says it pains him to see the club in the current state.
“If we continue to be selfish and not save this club, I don’t see us bouncing back to the elite league in the near future,” Mmusi said. Former TAFIC midfield general Mmoloki “BB” Sechele was in tears when his most beloved club’s relegation was confirmed. He said that he fails to understand why some people had to be selfish instead of putting the club first. TAFIC join another fallen Francistown side TASC in the lower ranks. This means that only ECCO City Greens remain the hope for the northern city people. “TAFIC’s relegation is no good for the people of Francistown. But if we need to see the team bouncing back it is important for us to put proper structures in place. The most important thing would be value the role of players because they are the ones who sweat weekend in and out,” said Sechele who joined the Red Devils in 1989 and became an instant hero.
Sechele added that he suspected that things are not well at his former club when he heard that they have moved from their Leseding training ground to Francistown Club. “I hear some people said that Leseding ground has been bewitched hence the move. That was uncalled for because TAFIC has been training there since its inception. These are some of the small things which contributed to the downfall of the club,” he said. Sechele shared the same sentiments with other TAFIC fans that it is the best that the club has relegated so that they can regroup.
He said if they were to stay top nothing would change. He said that this is the time where all those who have the club’s interests at heart to stand up. “Some people came into TAFIC executive not that they love the club but because they were looking at their interests. We need people who are passionate about the club in order to get to where we belong,” Sechele pointed out.