PALAPYE: First Division North log leaders, TAFIC who had a blistering start to the season, now face a battle to keep their firing squad intact as teams snoop around for their players.
Just three days after the January transfer window opened, the club confirmed it had received six request letters from Premiership and other First Division sides.
TAFIC coach Elias Chinyemba attributed the ballooning interest to their good showing, which saw the side remain undefeated in the first round.
He said he does not expect his players to leave for fellow First Division teams or financially unstable Premiership sides.
Chinyemba was quick to dismiss assertions that interest in his players could cause instability in the team.
“We are in a good space right now. The players are enjoying being at TAFIC. We have advised them about the effects of moving to (financially) unstable teams, and most of them are well aware, so I don’t see them moving,” he said.
“If we are to lose players, it will be one or two. The good thing is we are a structural side. We don’t play as individuals. We have been rotating players and each player had fitted comfortably when called to the task. If we are to lose a player, we will be able to fill the gap,” Chinyemba added.
He said he had identified four players from the First Division to bolster his squad for the final stretch of the campaign.
He said his mission was to win the next five encounters to cement their title challenge.
On Saturday, Matjimenyenga face a stern test away at Paul Henry Stadium against third-placed Sua Flamingoes.
Flamingoes lost a single match to second-placed Morupule Wanderers and are yet to lose in their Sua Town backyard. That, however, does not scare Chinyemba.
The confident Zimbabwean believes his side will stroll past Flamingoes.
“Our spirits are very high and this can only mean one result. We have proven we are a free-scoring team and if they (Flamingoes) are not cautious we will score four or five in their backyard,” he said.
The encounter promises fireworks.
TAFIC are five points clear of Flamingoes and the latter has shown intentions to also gain automatic promotion after falling off at the playoffs last season.
A TAFIC win will mean an eight-point gap at the top. Flamingoes have also been consistent and they command a robust defence that has not let in too many goals.
Their Achilles heel
is the absence of coach, Dominic Changwe, who was behind their outstanding run during the better part of the first round.
Contrary to reports, Flamingoes chairperson, Rebagamang Sekgekge said they had not parted ways with Changwe.
He said the coach was still in Zambia while they were working on renewing his work permits that had expired.
“It’s unfortunate we don’t have our head coach at the moment. The danger is to lose this game. It’s a do or die encounter for us. I am sure our opponents are hungry to open up the gap and we can’t underestimate them. We must win at all costs and we will ride on our determination,” he said.
In other games, Wanderers will look to redeem themselves after they fell victim to TAFIC in their last encounter.
Wanderers welcome Francistown City Greens in Pilikwe. Nico United face Palapye All Stars in Makoro.
Motlakase Power Dynamos visit Real Movers in Serowe, while Great North Tigers will host Real Movers at the Tagala Grounds.
In the only Sunday encounter, Calendar Stars will be home to Eleven Angels in a Francistown derby at the Francistown old stadium.
All games kick off at 4pm.