Friday, July 19, 2024

Will northern teams ever dominate local football?

It has been proved over the years that it is difficult for Northern teams to win major silverware in the country.

Almost everything is controlled by those teams in the Southern region of Botswana.
Southern teams win almost all major silverware every season compared to their northern counterparts.

To date, only Francistown side, Ecco City Green, is the only club to have won the league championships four seasons ago.

Also only Tafic and Tasc managed to win Coca-Cola Cup once in 2001 and 2002, respectively, and since then it has not been easy.

Before Ecco City won the league, Tasc had come closer to winning it in the early nineties but lost the title by a point.

It continues to prove difficult for northern teams in the Premier League as they are always in and out of the premier league, failing to make lasting impressions in the big league.
They are rarely seen at the top of the table. Even in the current transfer window, teams from the south are busy in the market compared to those in the north.

But, surprisingly, most well known and best players in Botswana are mainly from northern part of Botswana.

Miscellaneous coach and former Tasc coach and player, Teenage Mpote, admits that the standard of football in the northern part of Botswana has gone down. He, however, stresses that northern teams are just as capable as southern teams.

“The fact that only one team won the league championships and that the other ones missed it by a whisker tells you that northern teams’ can equally compete with those in the south. It is just that we have to change the perception that teams in the south are better than those in the north,” he said.

Mpote added that nowadays it is even better because cities like Francistown are even more attractive unlike before when most people preferred Gaborone.

He said there are so many opportunities’ and, as such, the onus is on the teams to put their teams in order and be competitive. He said that since more good players in this country originated from the north there can be balance between north and south.

“I think teams should just do the right thing and we can bet teams in the north can always win something every season. Look at Motlakase, they fought all the way to the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup and it shows that northern teams can do wonders,” he said.

On the other hand, former Botswana Football Association Vice President for administration, Segolame Ramothwa, disagrees with Mpote saying that it is going to take time for northern teams to equally dominate local football. Ramothwa told Sunday Standard that there are many factors disadvantaging the northern teams.

“Gaborone will always have advantage over all other places in Botswana. There are so many opportunities here compared to any other place in Botswana. If a player gets an equal offer for teams in both Gaborone and Francistown, chances are that he will choose a Gaborone team,” he said. Ramothwa also added that the unbalanced number of teams in both north and south will keep advantaging the southern teams.

He said currently there are six Premier League teams in the north while the rest are in Gaborone. This, he says, compels teams in the north to travel more than those in the south.

“This then means teams in the north spend more money than southern ones and also this can have an effect on players from the north. If teams travel frequently, it can lead to fatigue among the players and they would not produce the performance they are supposed to,” he said.

Even though Ramothwa agrees that management of teams has to improve, he does not see it as the cause of the inconsistent performance of teams from the north.

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