Once again, Tlokweng Naughty Boys have qualified for the Premier League play-offs. Definitely, the Tlokweng side hopes that history will repeat itself.
Naughty Boys surprised many in the 2005 season when they outwitted the then just relegated Premier League side Flamingo Santos in Tlokweng to book a place in the elite league. The man who did the damage was Busang Rasefako who rose twice above the Santos' defence to power home and send Dinoko to the Mascom Premier League as Santos sunk to the First Division.
The big question now is, can Naughty Boys repeat that feat again in the absence of the experienced and key players like Rasefako, Mooketsi Motlhagodi and David Mfolo? Club chairman Elija Katse is optimistic that his side will repeat the 2004 feat and bounce back to the Premier League. "Mathematically, we have already qualified for the play-offs despite our last game against Masitaoka on May 1. I cannot say we will win the play-offs but I am quite confident that my players will once again rise to the occasion," Katse said.
He asserted that he has a more balanced team this time around and they should compete effectively with promotion rivals. "We need to use our last game to prepare for the play-offs. It will be tough especially because we do not know the strengths of our opponents but we can do it again. I don't want to sound boastful but I believe that our current team is strong enough to compete against who ever," he said.
He conceded that part of the reason Naughty Boys flopped in the Premier League was that they had very little time to prepare for the big stage. "If you remember, by the time we played Santos, the Premier League fixtures were already out and we were just slotted in. We had no time to register any good players to bolster the team. But we had to go in there and compete despite all those problems. I am hoping that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) would do things differently so that whoever is promoted can have time to prepare," he said.
Meanwhile, Killer Giants' captain Donald 'Coach' Mopako has admitted that they let the First Division South title slip after they put champions Mogoditshane Fighters under pressure for most of the season. "We have only ourselves to blame for failing to at least qualify for the play-offs. We played well during the first round and suddenly players started absenting themselves from practice. The early success went to our heads, suddenly players thought they could do as they pleased and underrate some of our opponents," he lamented. Killer Giants take on Masitaoka on Saturday in the last game before the Molepolole side plays Naughty Boys on May Day. The Ramotswa outfit had four players with Premier League experience in Mopako, Thabo Letsomane, Trevor Moiseraele and Thatayaone Bagoleng and threatened to take the title this season but faded badly in the second round.
However, Mopako believes that his team lacked depth. He said that management would have to bring in more experienced players if the club is to qualify for the Premier League.
"Fighters had both skill and depth. If Masego (Ntshingane) got injured they could bring in Dunga Tlhobogang but when I got injured, my team had very few choices. My injury really cost the team. I have been playing with it but obviously I could not be as effective," he said.