TAFIC's promotion should not be the holy grail

TAFIC supporters were sent into delirium when their team secured a quick return to the BTC Premiership, after just one season in the lower division.

The excitement was justified as Francistown held the unwanted record as one of the few second cities around the world without a team in the top flight.

TAFIC have always been the city’s torchbearers but have hit severe turbulence in the last decade, resulting in the three drops from the Premier League to the First Division.  Despite being the ‘only begotten Premiership son’ in Francistown, TAFIC has been short of suitors. Not matter how much successive committees try to dress up and sell the TAFIC brand to the corporate world, it has been an uphill task.

However, TAFIC are not alone in this predicament. It is a cancer that has eaten away right through the fabric of football across the country.

Funding, other than maladministration, has single handedly threatened to take down even the Goliaths of local football. Gaborone United, Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have found out in the harshest of manners, that they are not immune to financial challenges, despite their undoubted statuses as the giants of local football.

Chiefs, as we write, is hanging precariously close to the drop zone, and has been part of the relegation scrap for the majority of the 2018/2019 season.

The Kgatleng giant might sink to the First Division, but make a quick return to the Premier League. That, would be an achievement, and just like TAFIC’s, it will be celebrated. But is gaining promotion alone sufficient, as it appears to be the alpha and omega for most clubs yearning for the promotion? It is,  and should not be the be-all, end all.  It would appear that for most clubs in the lower divisions, the ultimate is to climb to the Premier League, anything else matters little.  But this mentality has to shift, from survival to competitiveness.

In England, where money has never been an issue, clubs can afford to stay in the Premier League for survival and still rake in profits. But it is not so in Botswana, where resources are thread bare.  Clubs should dream just beyond the promotion holy grail.

TAFIC, and other clubs in a similar situation, should not assume that the job is done and dusted after gaining promotion.

It was pleasing to hear the TAFIC chairperson, Carlos Sebina, cautioning that his side is not ready for the Premiership despite evident gulf in class with the rest in the First Division.  Resources are key, and sound administration is needed for all the teams to effectively compete in the top league. The sight of Township Rollers touching down at the Maun International Airport two weeks ago, to play a struggling Sankoyo Bush Bucks, proved that there is a huge gap between the haves and have nots.  This is reflected on the Premier League table where Lazarus continues to survive on the crumbs, while the rich man feasts on the finest food, leading to lopsided contests.

TAFIC has a gargantuan task ahead; to mobilise the people of Francistown, sell an identifiable brand, and come up with innovations that will excite and galvanise, not just the people of the north, but the whole country. 

Today’s thought 

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” 

 – Pele

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