We are here to stay – Santos  

SHARE   |   Monday, 12 June 2017   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang

Following their promotion into the BTC premiership, Uniao Flamingo Santos are well prepared for top flight football. Santos are not new to the premier league and their management knows that thorough preparations need to be made for the team to survive longer. The team manager Tiro Mokgosi said though they are currently on a break they are working round the clock to see to it that they do well in the premier league. Mokgosi said their aim is to stay there and not relegate. “To tell the truth Santos are really not a first division team – we do not belong there. We are here to stay in the premier league,” said Mokgosi. He said the aim is to bring back the flair of football that the team has all ways been known for. Mokgosi said they are currently looking around to find partners who will help sponsor them. Finances have always been a problem for clubs that are promoted into the top flight football as it is too expensive to run the club at that level. Most times clubs are unable to pay players, which cause them to be demoralised and lose games. Santos management has been lucky in First division as the team was run mainly through gate takings and little funds from well-wishers. 

Mokgosi revealed that it has been difficult for them to pay the players. He said the club was just lucky that it had players who loved football. Mokgosi is, however, optimistic that they will find a sponsor before the start of the season so that they can be able to survive. “We are continuously looking for sponsorship from different companies and hopefully we will get something,” said Mokgosi. Santos will get back to the training ground on June 26, 2017 in preparation for the 2017/18 season. According to Mokgosi, they will be retaining the young players that helped the team gain promotion. He added that a little bit of beefing up of the squad will nonetheless be needed. What he clearly pointed out though is that they will not be bringing in any big name player. “Most of our players are ready to compete in the premier league but we will be beefing up the squad with other young players,” he said. 

Santos are well-known for their talent development programme and Mokgosi promised that they will stick to that. He explained that Santos work mainly with young players because that is where talent is and also because young players always show dedication and determination at all times. “Most teams do not do this because all they are after is results while we look at the development of young players,” said Mokgosi. However, Mokgosi is worried that the some clubs might be all over their young players looking to solicit their services. When Santos relegated three seasons ago many believed that it was because of the exodus of players from the club. The team lost a number of their key players, which affected their performance, resulting with them ultimately relegating. Mokgosi, however, said this time they are going into premier league to stay as they have learnt a lesson in the past.