The catastrophic relegation of the country's only Premier League side in Francistown, TAFIC has spelt doom for the city and its supporters who were hungry for top flight football after some of the city’s sides bit the dust to the lower leagues. Mmegi Staff Writer, LEBOGANG MOSIKARE looks at some factors that may have led to TAFIC's inglorious fall from glory
FRANCISTOWN: The body language of TAFIC’s interim coach, Kentse Motlhale summed up the team’s unsuccessful stay in the BTC Premiership after it relegated on Wednesday despite winning its last game against Black Forest.
TAFIC’s ignominious tumble from the premiership dubbed ‘TAFexit’ - a portmanteau of the words TAFIC and exit-made famous in the world following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) commonly known as Brexit - is something that a lot of local teams should learn from in order to avoid falling into the same pit.
Motlhale’s body language, facial expressions, body posture, gestures and pain displayed by his eye movements as he relayed factors that may have led the team to slip is a true summary of how the team performed on and off the field. For starters, TAFIC’s return to BTC premier league was mired by controversy from the start.
The team has never known peace since its ascendance to the Premiership. Old problems of not paying players dogged the team as the season wore on. Although Motlhale admitted that he joined the team late in the season and was not the right authority to fully know what may have led TAFIC to relegate, he nonetheless conceded that the once mighty outfit of the north might have hoisted its own petard by not paying players’ salaries on time, a factor he said might have contributed to the team’s downfall.
He said players worldwide are demoralised and could not perform to desired levels when clubs don’t pay them as per their contracts or fail to pay them altogether. Another factor that Motlhale said may have contributed to TAFIC’s downfall during a media scrum after the team defeated Black Forest 2-1 at the Francistown Sports Complex, is the constant changing of coaches.
When TAFIC was promoted to the BTC Premiership last season, it was under the tutelage of Maxwell Moyo who was assisted by Elias Chinyemba.
Both coaches were quickly sacked and replaced with Rapelang ‘Razor’ Tsatsilebe who is still holding the fort. However, it would not be off the mark to say that Tsatsilebe, who was suspended for seven games following a fracas involving TAFIC and Township Rollers players, spent many games on the stands as opposed to the bench. During TAFIC’s last game against Black Forest, Tsatsilebe was in the stands again after he was suspended during TAFIC and Extension Gunners game last week. The situation had the potential to affect the team rhythm if someone else is at
“In football different coaches have different philosophies of coaching. So it is inevitable that once a new coach arrives, the team will obviously change its style of play. It normally takes time for the players to adopt to the new coach’s playing methods which may sometimes affect the team negatively,” Motlhale said.
The suspension of seven key players on account of ill-discipline proved to be one of TAFIC’s downfall. Although the club cited ill-discipline as a factor for suspending the players, those privy to the issue said that the players were suspended because they were not paid and were demanding their dues.
As the journalists pressed Motlhale for more reasons that may have contributed to TAFIC’s unceremonious exit from the Premier League, it became clear that most of the factors he said might have contributed to the club’s collapse were old problems that the team did not address. Most TAFIC supporters are of the view that there should be a massive overhaul of the club’s management in order for the team to return to its former glory days. Meanwhile, Forest’s coach Gilbert Mushangazhike said that his charges lost the match against TAFIC because they are yet to master the carpet style of football that he recently introduced.
Mushangazhike’s charges entered the game having secured position eight in the league. Forest was not going to eclipse any club on the log standings even if it had won its game against TAFIC. Simultaneously, no team was going to go on top of Forest in the log even after it lost against TAFIC.
“I am using this game as part of our preparations for the upcoming Mascom Top 8 Cup. I wanted my players to knock the ball around, but unfortunately they did not follow my instructions until the end of the game. It’s a learning curve and as you know it’s difficult to play against a team that is facing relegation,” Mushangazhike said.
Forest broke the deadlock in the first half through a header from Molaodi Tlhalefang following a cross before TAFIC equalised through Lungisani Fanyana.
TAFIC then took the lead towards the end of the game through substitute Michael Murirwa who fired a scorcher into the net.
The game was punctuated by lack of composure in front goals in both halves by both teams. However, TAFIC still relegated after both Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Security Systems won their respective games.