Mmegi Online :: The end of the Coke Cup era
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Last Updated
Tuesday 20 November 2018, 13:46 pm.
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The end of the Coke Cup era

As curtains comes down on the Coca-Cola Cup this Saturday, Staff Writer FREDERICK KEBADIRETSE looks at the history of the cup that had become inseparable with local football since its inception in 1992
By Staff Writer Tue 20 Nov 2018, 20:36 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The end of the Coke Cup era








There is no way one can talk without football in Botswana without mentioning the Coca-Cola Cup. Many local football greats had at one stage competed in the premier knockout competition and apart from the league, the cup remained for a very long time the only other notable high profile competition in local soccer. Ironically, defending champions Extension Gunners were the inaugural winners of the Coca-Cola Cup back in 1992 when they defeated Francistown side, TAFIC, 3-2. The team then had the cream of the country's players in the likes of Naphtally 'Scara' Kebalebile, Jojo Mogotsi, and Itumeleng 'Tumie' Duiker. The crack side was coached by Zambian Kenny Mwape who was described as one of the greatest motivators of the time. The late Edson Muluba scored the deciding goal in the dying minutes of the game at the National Stadium to make sure Mapantsula became the first side to take the cup.

While Gunners won the inaugural cup in 1992, the following year would see Township Rollers winning the cup and went on to bag it a record five times. Rollers won the cup in 1993,1994, 1996, 2005 and 2010. A young man who donned the Rollers jersey in the 1993 final was none other than Mmoni 'States' Segopolo, who will win a further three cups with Rollers with his record also standing unsurpassed in history books. Segopolo talks very fondly about the Coca-Cola cup saying it has played a very key role in the development of football in the country. He said prior to the cup, clubs only competed for the league honours and a few 'small' cup competitions that were there at the time. He said the Coke Cup brought a vibe that had never been there before in local football.

"It was a knockout competition, so it helped intensify competition between the teams and players had to be at their best because there were also individual awards introduced," Segopolo said. He said luckily for him he played for a side that wanted to achieve something every season and they always pushed hard to reach the final. He recalls the 1993 team was a blend of young players like him and some experienced faces in the likes of Litter Kwapa and Trigger Molelekwa. He says there was a lot of excitement leading up to the final as it was a derby game and back then everyone was always looking forward to the derby. He said GU was their hoodoo side at the time and everyone was convinced they would emerge victorious, but somehow they managed to overcome them on the day packing four goals behind them to win 4-1. The 1993 final remain inscribed in his memory as the best he played in though he also mentions the 2005 final against BDF XI that Rollers won 3-1. "Many people think we won that game 2-1 because the third goal was just too quick. BDF XI were still shocked we scored the second goal and within seconds after restart, we took the ball and scored the third," he recalls. The 2005 team had the likes of Moemedi Moatlhaping, Phenyo Mongala and Mogogi Gabonamong who went on to ply their trades in the lucrative ABSA Premier League in South Africa. Segopolo said the cup also helped unearth some of the country's finest talent through the schools

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Coca-Cola cup. He said the schools finals was always played as a curtain raiser for the final and a lot of youngsters were inspired playing in front of their heroes and went on to play in the top flight and become heroes themselves. Among the youngsters who played schools Coca-Coca cup and went on to star for their respective top-flight sides was one Phineas 'Jiki' Maimela who rose to fame at both Gunners and Rollers in the late 90's. Segopolo tells Mmegi Sport that the cup also helped give local players exposure outside the country as they competed in continental competitions.

He hailed the cup as having contributed immensely for his development not only as a footballer, but also as an individual in the society. He said though the Coca-Cola cup is coming to an end, it deserves to be celebrated as it was shifting focus to grassroots development, an area he says remains lagging behind. Segopolo currently coaches a youth soccer team in Block Nine. The only other clubs that come close to Rollers in terms of Coke success are Mogoditshane Fighters and Notwane who had each won the cup three times. Notwane won the cup in 1995 and 1997 on both occasions beating Mokgosi Young Fighters. They would add a third title in 2006 beating BDF XI. A youthful Mogoditshane Fighters side coached by David Bright opened a lot of eyebrows winning the cup three times between 1999 and 2003. The cup has rarely failed to produce some big upsets with some big clubs losing to relatively unknown teams. Mokgosi Young Fighters and FC Satmos emerged as some of the surprise finalists over the years.

Meanwhile from the sponsors KBL, Marketing Manager (soft drinks) Karabo Tlhabiwe said Coke is not lost to football, but merely transited to youth development. He said the Coke brand is almost inseparable with soccer worldwide. "This is not the end, Coke will continue contributing towards soccer development," he said. He said as a way of marking the final edition, they are going to make the Sunday final memorable from an organisation point and hopefully the finalists will also dish out good football to be remembered in years to come. The winner will keep the cup for good. Tlhabiwe thanked their partners the BFA and the Premier League for the good relationship they have built and enjoyed over the years.

Coca-Cola cup past winners
1992: Extension Gunners 2-1 TAFIC
1993: Township Rollers 4-1 Gaborone United
1994: Township Rollers 2-0 Extension Gunners
1995: Notwane PG 2-0 Mokgosi Young Fighters
1996: Township Rollers 2-0 Botswana Meat Commission FC
1997: Notwane PG 2-0 Mokgosi Young Fighters
1998: Botswana Defence Force XI 1-0 Jwaneng Comets
1999: Mogoditshane Fighters 3-0 FC Satmos
2000: Mogoditshane Fighters 1-1 Gaborone United (aet 5-4 pens)
2001:TASC 2-0 Extension Gunners 

2002: TAFIC 0-0 TASC (aet 6-5 pens)
2003: Mogoditshane Fighters 1-0 Township Rollers
2004: Botswana Defence Force XI 2-1 Mogoditshane Fighters
2005: Township Rollers 3-1 Botswana Defence Force XI
2006: Notwane 2-1 Botswana Defence Force XI
2007: Botswana Meat Commission FC 1-1 ECCO City Greens (aet, 6-5 pens)
2008: Mochudi Centre Chiefs 5-2 Uniao Flamengo Santos (Gabane)
2009: Uniao Flamengo Santos 1-1 Botswana Defence Force XI (aet, 4-2 pens)
2010: Township Rollers 3-1 Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2011: Extension Gunners 3-1 Motlakase Power Dynamos


 

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