Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Coca-Cola tournament craze starts this weekend

This week, the Premier League will take a temporary break and pave the way for the lucrative Coca-Cola tournament. It is the first time the tournament has been played in the beginning of the year, compared to its traditional period from mid-year to the last quarter of the year.

The Coca Cola tournament will be held early this year because the sponsors want it to be played before the World Cup when the soccer momentum is still high. Nevertheless 16 matches will be played across the country and all Premier League teams will be battling it out.

Eyes will mainly be on Uniao Flamengo Santos and Township Rollers. Last year, Santos made history by winning the Coca-Cola Cup for the first time after defeating some of the heavyweights, including the then defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

The team was full of youngsters who made impressive runs.

Santos face a taxing period because they also have to compete in the CAF Club champions against Mozambican club, Costa do Sol. They begin their Coca-Cola Cup defence against a district divisional team, Tonota FC. Obviously, Santos have an edge but should not make the mistake of underestimating their opponents.

For Township Rollers it is a matter of winning the tournament more than any other team. Since its inception in 1992 Rollers are the only team to have won the tournament for a record four times. Notwane and Mogoditshane Fighters are the only ones to have won it three times apiece. The last time Rollers won the tournament was in 2005 when they defeated BDF XI 3-1 but, since then, they have been faltering in the early stages.

This season, however, Rollers might put too much energy and focus on the league championship. They are currently leading and if they can have a double focus it would mean serious preparations.

Last season, upon realizing that the league was beyond their reach, they zeroed in on the Coca-Cola Cup only to be eliminated by Mogoditshane Fighters in the quarter finals.

Fighters, on the other hand, were eventually relegated to the First Division. Rollers will make the long trip to Selibe-Phikwe and face former Coca-Cola finalists, FC Satmos. Satmos are currently in the First Division. They reached the Coca-Cola finals eleven years ago, the very same year they got promoted to the Premier League.

The team was then owned by the late businessman, Sam Sono and produced many good players like Tiroyamodimo Mohambi and Thobo ‘Fish’ Kgoboge. After Sono passed on a few years later, the team has been on a slide and is finding it difficult to get promoted. The last time they were in the Premier League was in 2006. Other teams that might be strong challengers for the Coca-Cola Cup are the likes of Centre Chiefs, BDF XI and even Notwane.

Other Coca-Cola Cup fixtures
Gantsi Terros vs Tafic
Mathaithai vs Boteti
Prisons vs Notwane
Black Peril vs Police
Mochudi Buffaloes vs GNT
Miscellenious vs BMC
Motlakase vs BDF XI
Queens Happy Hearts vs Mochudi Centre Chiefs
Kang Swallows vs Nico United
Jwaneng Comets vs Extension Gunners
Maphatswa vs Ecco City Green
Tlokweng United vs Mogoditshane Fighters
Combination Stars vs Gaborone United
Letlapeng vs Naughty Boys
 
Coca-Cola’s previous winners
1992: Gunners
(Gunners 3, Tafic 2)

1993: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 4, GU 1)

1994: Township Rollers
Township Rollers, 2 Gunners 0

1995: Notwane
(Notwane 3, BDF XI 1)

1996: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 2, BMC 0)

1997: Notwane
(Notwane 2, Mokgosi 0)

1998: BDF XI
(BDF XI 1, Jwaneng
Comets 0)

1999: Mogoditshane Fighters
(Mogoditshane Fighters 3,
FC Satmos 0)

2000: Mogoditshane Fighters

2001: Tasc
Tasc 2, Gunners 0

2002: Tafic
(Tafic beat Tasc on penalties)

2003: Mogoditshane Fighters
Mogoditshane Fighters 1, Township Rollers 0)

2004: BDF XI
(BDF 2, Fighters 0)

2005: Township Rollers
(Township Rollers 3,
BDF XI 1)

2006: Notwane
(Notwane 2, BDF XI 1)

2007: BMC
(BMC 5 ECCO City 4,
after penalties)

2008: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
(Mochudi Centre Chiefs 5, Uniao Flamengo Santos 2

2009 Uniao Flamengo Santos
(Santos 4 BDF XI 2 Pen)

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.