New Chairman set to transform Tafic
When Tafic last left the field of play after a competitive match, on a sunlit, cloudless February afternoon in Serowe 11 months ago, they did so with hope in their hearts.
The Francistown-based outfit had just beaten Miscellaneous 2-1 to record their second victory in three games.
Optimism around the club was high. Matjimenyenga were confident they could avoid relegation and prolong their stay in the elite league for another season.
Later that fateful day, Tafic’s fellow strugglers, Extension Gunners secured an unlikely 3-1 victory against high-flying Security Systems, condemning the Alarm Boys to just their third defeat in 20 league outings.
The following day – 29 February 2020 – destiny dealt Tafic another cruel blow.
Notwane beat Orapa United 1-0, a scoreline that lifted Toronto out of the bottom three and prevented the Ostriches from assuming the top spot in the league.
(Neither Systems nor Orapa realised it at the time, but had either of them managed a win, they would have ended up as league champions!)
Although the results were significant, with ten games of the season still remaining, they were not expected to be defining.
And then Covid-19 came along and changed the world forever.
The pandemic brought the league and the 2019/20 season to a standstill. It was never to resume again.
In June, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) declared that despite the league being only two-thirds complete, the season was over.
The controversial decision consigned Tafic to a second relegation in three years, sending the Reds back to the dust of the First Division North for the first time of asking.
In 2018, Matjimenyenga lost their Premier League status by a single point. This time around the margins were even crueler.
Tafic finished on 18 points, the same as Morupule Wanderers and Gunners. They were condemned by their inferior goal difference, made to pay the ultimate price for a defence that leaked 36 goals in 20 matches.
The relegation left a bitter taste with supporters and officials alike and at first, it appeared the club would appeal the BFA’s decision.
However, in an exclusive interview with Voice Sport, Tafic’s newly elected Chairman, Tebogo Toteng stressed that while he felt the decision was unfair, dwelling on the matter would only delay the club going forward.
“For a team to be relegated when there’s a possible 30 points at stake, for me that didn’t make sense! But I choose to say we must move forward. Grappling with the issue will only delay us in what we want to achieve in the future.
“I view it in two ways. It’s a big blow; everyone would love to be in the Premier League. But now that it has happened it gives us the opportunity to regroup as a team, work on our finances so that when we get back to the elite league we are ready to compete.”
Appointed on the 28 November on a four-year term, the 39-year-old has big plans for the club he has supported all his life.
Toteng, a Business Development Manager by profession, freely admits that running a football team ‘requires a lot of money’. As such, the proud Francistowner is looking to use his vast experience in the corporate world to ‘do Tafic the business way’.
“That’s why one of my key pillars in campaigning for this position was the privatization and commercialization of Tafic. I truly believe it’s a die-or-do issue for the club!”
Although he did not go into detail on how this might be achieved, Toteng said, “Shortly after my election, I appointed an expert in the privatization and commercialization field. He has already come up with a model and I will be submitting it to the Executive Committee for analysis.”
Another initiative that will be crucial to Toteng’s dream of transforming Tafic’s fortunes is the eagerly anticipated membership drive, which was launched earlier this week.
“The marketing team is targeting 500 [members] by month-end,” declared the Chairman, adding he was cautiously confident this would be achieved.
Fans are able to choose from four membership options, including VVIP at P1, 000 a month, Gold (P500), Silver (P250), and finally Bronze (P60). (For more information on what each package offers check Tafic FC’s Facebook page).
With the club set to hold an AGM at the end of February, Toteng was at pains to point out that only paid-up members ‘will participate in deciding Tafic’s future’.
From a playing perspective, the Chairman is desperate for Tafic to return to the ‘Undipe ndi kupe” brand of football the club were synonymous with within the 90s.
The recent reappointment of Head Coach, Stanley Mwaanga, will go a long way to achieving that dream.
“Stan has worked with the team and it is important for continuity purposes that he is back. We will support him as much as we can and hopefully, this will translate into success on the field. It might take a bit of time but the committee is confident in his abilities!”
On another positive note, as they look to build a squad capable of an immediate return to the Premier League, Tafic is currently holding player trials, with Toteng describing the response as ‘overwhelming’.
It seems then that despite the disastrous end to last season, Toteng and his team of administrators are on the right path to rekindling the hope in the hearts of Tafic fans throughout the country.