The City of Francistown is expected to spring back to life following city favourite Tafic’s return to the premier league. While this means excitement to football lovers as top local teams will now be playing in Francistown almost weekly, the business community also stands to benefit. Big crowed pullers like Extension Gunners, Township Rollers and Centre Chiefs will boost Francistown economically when they come to honour games in the city. It has been a four long years since Tafic or any other Francistown teams played in the premier league. This has starved the locals of elite football. Now that the operation to get Tafic back to the Premier League has been successful, it is all joy in the City of Francistown. It took an effort from all Tafic stakeholders to see this massive achievement through. Tafic Chairman Thomas Maika praised the team management, players, coaches and the town leadership for having worked tirelessly to see this dream coming through.
What it means for F’town
The Mayor of Francistown Sylvia Muzila, who has been pointed out as one of the instrumental people who supported the team, is happy with the development. Muzila could not contain her delight, saying the town is currently in a jubilant mood. She said Tafic’s promotion provides a better chance to continue towards further building and growing the name of the city. She said without a team in the Premier league depicted the city as a bad performer in sports. “The promotion of Tafic will help build the good name of the city as it will be representing the Francistown as it travel around the country,” she said. Apart from upholding the city’s good name, the mayor said, this is going to boost the city economically. She said small businesses are going to have the opportunity boom with an influx of people to the stadium. Muzila said when the Zebras played in the city, saying small business people reported good profits. “Businesses are going to benefit greatly as people will be coming into Francistown more often to watch the teams play against Tafic. Coming into Francistown these people will spend their money here supporting the small business owners. Those going to benefit more are the taxi drivers, vendors and some bigger businesses like filling stations, lodges and hotels,” she said. Muzila said she has been behind the team supporting it and soliciting financial support for it because as a mayor it is her duty to see to the development of the town through all aspects including sports. Maika added that Tafic will bring back football excitement to Francistown. He believes that more people are now going to be pulled to the grounds to watch football which will benefit immensely the people of Francistown.
It was tough
Tafic have been trying to get back to elite football for the past three years. Maika said it has always been their mandate to see the team promoted to the premier league since they were elected into office in May 2016. Despite accomplishing the mission, Maika said it was not an easy task at all. First of all competition was very tough amongst the teams who wanted the same thing as they did. “You can even tell by how the championship was decided that competition was very tough,” said Maika. He pointed out teams like Motlakase, BR Highlanders, Sua United and Morupule Wanderers, saying they gave Tafic a run for the money. He said the league had great quality coaches that made the run for the championship a tough one, hence its photo-finish. The National First Division North league championship went down to the wire as the last game decided the champions.
What got the team going?
Maika said it all took their commitment and hard work to see the team through. “Since it was our mandate to see the team promoted we worked tirelessly to see this objective through. It might have taken us to the end of the league to accomplish it but everyone never gave up as we fought for what we believed in until we got it,” he said. Maika thanked all those have been helping the team, saying if it was not because their help they might not have attained promotion. Maika said the oneness and togetherness that all the people showed helped them get the team promoted. Maika credited the support base that the team has as the greatest thing that kept them going during the tough time. The chairman applauded Tafic supporters for rallying behind the team throughout. “In addition to the other factors, the supporters have been the greatest motivation to the team. They rallied behind the boys and travelled with the team everywhere we went,” he said. Maika added that the working together of the committee has as added to the success. “The committee has been working every well in oneness to push the team forward. We worked very hard to keep the players happy at all times so that the can only worry about playing football,” he said. He said even though it was tough they made sure that they paid the players on time and attended to their welfare at all times. Long and rigorous training patterns are also mentioned to have come in handy to the team as they kept fit and strong at all times.
Premier league preparations
While there is still joy among the Tafic family, Maika said they should not dwell more into celebrating but start preparations for the new season now. He acknowledged that going into the Premier league is the beginning of bigger challenges for them. Maika said they are already starting to prepare for the tough trials and their aim is to see the team going to the premier league to stay. Oftentimes teams get promoted to the elite league and stay for a season before relegating again. This is exactly what Tafic management will be guarding against. In fact Maika said their aim is to finish in the Top 8 bracket. “We have started another operation that will see the team stay in the premier league forever,” he said. To attain this, management has hit the ground running as it has already started looking for a new coach that will guide the team. Tafic was guided to promotion by Elias Chinyembe however the gaffer does not have the required qualifications to be a head coach in the Premier league. Though Maika did not say which coach they are looking for names of Daniel Nare, David Bright, Mlungisi Kopi and China Mading having been making rounds linked with Tafic. To cement their place in the Premier league Maika said they will be starting benchmarking exercise to make sure they run the team well. “We will be learning from other successful teams on how best to run the team. Our aim is to be successful; so we are willing to learn to become the best team,” he said. From experience Maika and his management team know that for the team to do well the players need to be well taken care of at all times. “For players to be happy payments should be done in timely all the time,” he explained. For payments to be made in time it means the team will have to have a sustainable source of financial muscle. While Tafic has been having some companies that helped the team throughout Maika said they will be going out again to solicit sponsorship because the Premier league is going to need more money than the first division.
Plea for support
As the challenges will be growing for Tafic, Maika pleads with the people of Francistown and the business community at large to come on board and help anyway they can. He called on the supporters to continue rallying behind the team to motivate the players. “I plead with the supporters to come in large numbers at the matches not only to cheer the team up but also help with the gate takings. If more people go to the matches more money will be made through gate-takings that will be used to finance the team,” said Maika. The manager also called on the business community to help the team during this time for it to make it to its objective of finishing in the Top 8 bracket. Francistown mayor also pledged to continue supporting the team in any way possible so that it can continue upholding the name of the city. She revealed that she has been in contact with the team management advising them to come up with a strategic plan going forward that will inform them of what needs to be done. She acknowledged that a huge challenge lie ahead, hence the need to prepare well in time. “Even when I go around I urge people to stand behind the team to support it in any way possible so that it can be sustained at the top,” said Muzila. Oftentimes finances have been a very big problem for the teams and Maika does not want this to happen to his team.