Flamingoes' fifth shot at elusive Premiership goal

Flamigoes supporters will hope its fifth time lucky. PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
Flamigoes supporters will hope its fifth time lucky. PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG

PALAPYE: After coming agonisingly close to promotion in the last four seasons, Sua Flamingoes are once again itching to gain what is proving to be evasive Premiership promotion.

The Debswana First Division North league kicks off this weekend with Flamingoes taking the long trip to rookies Maun Tigers on Saturday. Since joining the second tier league, Flamingoes have been consistent promotion candidates.

They were third in their rookie season, fourth in the second season, promotional playoffs losers in third and they finished third last campaign. Flamingoes are the sole mine-backed side that appears cursed after fellow miners, Orapa United, Jwaneng Galaxy and recently Morupule Wanderers achieved promotion.

The club has done it all with the right mix of players, and tried and tested coaches that achieved promotion with other clubs. Former coach, Elias Chinyemba, who led Flamingoes during the club’s debut season, was twice responsible for TAFIC’s promotion twice.

Before joining the Sowa Reds, Dominic Changwe had led Orapa United to Premiership promotion. He saw his Flamingoes side slip in front of the home crowd against Prisons XI in the playoffs two seasons ago.

Flamingoes have similar ambitions this season with Rapelang ‘Razor’ Tsatsilebe leading the Sowa Town-based outfit.  According to club president Rebagamang Sekgekge, they have altered their approach.

After engaging Tsatsilebe, he said they allowed the coach to set up a technical team of his choice and build up a squad to fit his tactical style. He admitted they would not be expecting anything easier, but backed his coach and players to achieve promotion.

“He (Tsatsilebe) coached various teams and junior national teams. He has seen players develop and knows them. Our team is made up of relatively unknown young and agile players; there is too much hunger and healthy competitions. It will be tough, but we are expecting an exciting season,” said Sekgekge.

Tsatsilebe understands the burning Premiership hunger at his new side.

He outlined a number of challenges that made him struggle to get some of his targets during the transfer window. However, he said they did well with the club management in the transfer window.

“We made possible additions. Our preparations went well; the players have come together in the preseason. Now it is about transforming our preseason into the league. The boys are confident and they understand the expectations,” the coach said.

The northern league has forever been tough.  Flamingoes will battle it out with relegated Premiership giant, Sankoyo Bush Bucks.

The battle, however, does not end with the duo.  There are also former elite league giants in the likes of Nico United, Motlakase Power Dynamos and Green Lovers that would also determine where the pendulum swings.

Eleven Angels is another side to look out for this season after acquiring the giant slayer’s title in their debut season. Angels face Motlakase in their opening match in Palapye on Saturday.

Sankoyo are away to Francistown City Greens, Nico host rookies Tonota FC and Great North Tigers will be home to Mahalapye’s Santa Green.

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