When Orapa United were formed four years ago the plan was for the team to be stable and compete in international competitions in five years’ time. For others this was just a farfetched dream. Four years down the line the team is envied by many. It has established itself as one of the be-MOBILE Premier league title contenders. ‘The Ostriches’ as Orapa United are affectionally known to their supporters currently give well established clubs a run for their money.
During the 2013/14 season Orapa United, which was newly formed and playing in first division north, had planned to get promotion to the premier league. In the second year the mission was to avoid relegation while in the third year they planned to finish within the top eight teams in the league. According to the plan, in the fourth year the team was supposed to win either the league or the Top 8 cup so they can play continental football in the fifth year. To this point Orapa United have achieved all that they planned in their five-year plan. It is this season (2015/2016) that the team planned to win either the league or the Top 8 cup and their spokesperson Tebatso Hule said they are on track to achieve this. Hule said even the club’s current performance shows that they are destined for greater things.
“I would say we are on the right track to achieve our plan. Even the team’s performance is evident to this. We are not in this just to participate but to win. The foundation has been set and now it is time to start winning,” said Hule. Orapa United are currently on second spot in the league closely behind Township Rollers. The team also continues to do well in their maiden Top 8 appearance, and are now at the semi-finals. Everything seems to be going very well at Orapa United and Hule is unable to quickly point out the team’s challenges in their endeavour. He had to take a moment to think of the challenge and finally pointed that the most set back was when they lost their coach last season. However, he hastened to point out that they are happy to have been able to get an equally experienced coach in Madinda Ndlovu.
Soccer analysts also hail the team’s performance. One of the analysts Benjamin Radimo said for Orapa United to win either the league or Top 8 it will be very important for them to manage both tournaments well. Radimo said they should set their priorities right so that they do not go off track. He said with the quality of the players and technical team Orapa United have they have the capability to win either of the two or both. “Looking at the way they play it shows that they are after something. They do not fear the big clubs and they always want to prove a point when playing against them,” said Radimo. The team has an added advantage of motivation since they get bonuses for winning games. To him this is motivational enough for them to fight even harder to keep on winning. “They also do not have any pressure which gives them an edge over other teams,” said Radimo
Some feel even though the competition is tough Orapa United’s chances of winning the league could be increased by the fact that current log leaders Township Rollers more often blunder towards the end of the season and lose more points. However, with a new coach at Rollers it is yet to be seen if they will keep up their position at the top. Hule said it was their aim to have one strong team to go out and represent the region in football. He said having one team helped them to direct available resources to the team. “This project has been made possible because all parties concerned had one aim and they worked tirelessly towards achieving it,” said Hule.