Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Will Gunners flop again in the Coca-Cola Cup?

The closer Lobatse-based side, Extension Gunners, get to the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup, the more the painful memories of the past encounters crop up.

Gunners have so far managed to advance to the last eight of the Coca-Cola tournament and have since expressed their intention, like all other teams, to advance as far as the finals and ultimately winning the tournament.
Gunners were the first team to win the tournament when it started in 1992 but since then, they have never won it again but bowed out in the finals in some instances.

After snatching the tournament in 1992, they managed to reach the finals in 1994 and, unfortunately, Township Rollers were too strong for them as they beat them 2-0.

It then took them seven years to reach another final but they could not stop Tasc as they also beat them 2-0 and became the first team from the northern part of the country to win the tournament.

Gunners have been on a seesaw performance this season but they managed to reach the quarter finals where other giants, like Township Rollers and Gaborone United, could not.

Gunners supporters are asking themselves questions whether their team will make it all the way to the finals and, if they do, will they once again tumble.

Since the league championship is out of their grasp, their only consolation would be the Coca Cola Cup and, already, they have a tough assignment.
They are scheduled to play BDF XI, one of the teams also doing all they can to win the tournament they last won five years ago.

The league championship is bit by bit getting out of their reach. They are also spoiled for choice when it comes to players compared to Gunners.

BDF XI coach, Stanley Mwaanga, has also since made it clear that they want to win the tournament and ultimately represent the country in African competitions. The spokesperson of the team, Cassim Dada, said that Gunners of today cannot be compared to the yesteryear one. He added that things are improving a little bit and they will also fight all the way to the finals.

“We used to have a second to none best team and that was reflected in the field of play. We also used to have a sound management that was always motivated to take the team to the next level. Right now the internal politics is the main problem in most of the teams including ours. But I am hopeful Gunners will do all they can to go to the next level,” he said.

In those years Gunners were under the tutelage of the late Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndlovu and had many versatile and industrious players who held the team high when the chips were down.

Some of such players include Itumeleng Duiker, Scara Kebalepile, Kenneth ‘Computer’ Jere, Francis Chisenga and Edison Mulubwa. Gunners have, of late, been embroiled in financial difficulties and went to the extent of failing to pay their foreign imports from Burundi. The two players ended up not featuring in some of the games demanding their money, causing the team to lose games they could have easily won.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.