Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The memorable Coca-Cola finals

Last weekend’s Coca-Cola cup finals between Extension Gunners and Palapye-based side, Motlakase, will remain in memories of both teams for a very long time.

This is mainly because Gunners went for 17 year without winning a major trophy while Motlakase qualified for the finals, despite facing the possibility of relegation to the First Division.

Gunners’ supporters came in their numbers despite their team’s long dry spell. The atmosphere resembled that of the years 1992, 93 and 94 when the team was untouchable.

That was the time when Gunners matches packed a full house and there were even motorcades before playing against other big teams.

Gunners won the inaugural Coca-Cola tournament in 1992 and also won the league they would defend for two consecutive years.

Nevertheless, since its inception in 1992, most Coca-Cola finals have been electrifying, especially where big guns are involved just like this year’s. Some of such finals were of 1992, 93, 94, 96, 97, 2005, 2008 and 2010.

The 1992 final saw Extension Gunners slugging it out against Francistown based side Tafic.
Tafic then were very strong and it was obvious Gunners were going to struggle.
Although Gunners emerged 3-2 winners, Tafic gave them the scare of their lives. The National Stadium was full to the brim.

The 1993 finals were even terrific because it was the battle of cross town teams and bitter rivals, Gaborone United and Township Rollers.

Both teams commanded unbelievable support and the derby promised to be a bone-crushing one.
GU by then was known as the money machine and, before the finals, they had won some trophies, some against Rollers.

GU was clear favourites and the build up was the talk of the town. Come match day, the stadium was full and Rollers refused to use the usual entrance used by teams, preferring the public one.
Rollers ended up crushing the Reds, as GU is known, 4-1.

Famous players then were the likes of Joseph Chikoti, Mmoni ‘States’ Segopolo Gofhamodimo ‘City’ Senne, Patrick Zibotchwa and Thabo Motang. In 1994 Gunners qualified again for the finals together with Township Rollers.

Both teams, however, had it really tough in the semi-finals and had to triple their efforts to make it.

Gunners narrowly beat Prisons XI by a solitary goal while Rollers had to go to the penalty shootout against stubborn Police XI.

Rollers started leading the game 2-0 and Police came back strongly to level the matters. With both sides commanding large crowds, the National Stadium was once again full and the action did not disappoint.

Rollers won the encounter 2-0 and Gunners at one stage missed a penalty that might have changed the complexion of the game.

In 1996 Rollers were up against BMC and the National Stadium was once again full.

Despite BMC’s continuous onslaught led by Collen Zulu and Leornard Msinabgwa, Rollers won 2-0.

In 1997 another interesting final was between Notwane and Ramotswa side, Mokgosi Young Fighters. Both teams did not have much following but the recipe for a full house on the day was the fact that Mokgosi, then under the tutelage of Ezekiel Mpofu, were campaigning in the First Division and it was the first time in the tournament for such scenario to happen.

Although Mokgosi fought to the end, Notwane’s experience helped them to win the encounter 2-0.
From 1998 to 2004 the tournament was mainly dominated by institutional teams that do not have many supporters and it was only in 2005 when Township Rollers bounced back from two seasons hiatus in the First Division. Rollers won the encounter against BDF XI 3-1.

In 2008 Kgatleng side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs wrote their name in the tournament history as they walloped Uniao Flamengo Santos 5-2. That was the time when Centre Chiefs started attracting many supporters to their matches.

In 2010 Centre Chiefs were up against proven rivals Township Rollers at University of Botswana Stadium.

Rollers ended up winning the encounter 3-1 after extra time.

Previous Coca Cola 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,

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?Santos beating BDF XI on penalties
2010: Township Rollers 3 Centre Chiefs 1 (ET)
2011: Gunners 3 Motlakse 1


Read this week's paper