Supporters of Molepolole domiciled football giants Masitaoka FC heaved a sigh of relieve on Thursday afternoon after Botswana Football Association (BFA) granted their side permission to ursup the status of defunct Black Peril in the more prestigious First Division league.
Public Relations Officer, Nkosinathi Zo Malanga, announced late Thursday afternoon that the team had successfully acquired the status of Black Peril FC and will ply their trade in the Debswana First Division South, for the 2019 /20 season which starts on September 07. "We thank Black Peril for this gesture given to us and other well wishers for the support given to us all this time," said Malanga.
Financed by a passionate investor from Molepolole -local businessman Mmonesi Arel Ralebala, Maja Tlhaga -as Masitaoka is fondly known by its legion of fans and hordes of supporters donning royal blue and white replicas, is leaving nothing to chance. They are already engaged in pre-season preparations that saw them compete in a tournament involving three other teams in Taung on Saturday among them Gaborone based Notwane Football Club. Although Masitaoka management has remained tight lipped, by last week former premier league stars among them Michael Pepukani, Topo Piet and Emmanuel Nlu were linked to the team after they were spotted training with the young squad. Clearly the technical bench is looking to reinforce the youthful side with more experienced players to build a robust squad that can withstand the more demanding First Division.
The acquisition translates into promotion from the dusty grounds of Kweneng Regional Football teams, where Masitaoka has been wallowing with limited success after three consecutive attempts to gain automatic promotion failed dismally. However, the team remains an affiliate of Kweneng Regional Football Association. In the latest episode the team's hope for promotion to the Debswana sponsored league were recently dashed at the Kgatleng Regional Playoffs in Mochudi in May due to poor refereeing by match officials that degenerated into chaos and violence as spectators revolted to vent out frustrations. Against all expectations, Up the Blues were pipped to the throne by the less fancied Holy Ghost of Gaborone when the latter was awarded a controversial winning goal in the dying minutes of the decider matches that were played concurrently. Thereafter, a dark cloud hung over
the Kweneng Regional champions, when players and supporters were implicated in the assault of match officials. Very little has been said about the issue ever since and word on the streets is that it is already water under the bridge as they are moving forward with the new lease of life in the First Division.
Masitaoka was relegated from First Division in 2014 after a series ofg poor performances coupled with deep seated divisions within management. Not withstanding the setback they remained resolute about the dream to one day play in the lucrative Botswana Premier League. Acquiring the status of the Tlokweng based side (Black Peril) in the feeder league to BPL is one manuevre that has brought Masitaoka closer to the ultimate dream of rubbing shoulders with the creme-de-la-creme in local football. Masitaoka makes a return to elite football in First Division South with a home fixture against neighbours Uniao Flamengo Santos on September 7 at Molepolole Sports Complex.
“I can confirm that now it is a done deal. All the paperwork which had to go through BFA and its regional structures are done. We fulfilled everything and the deal has been approved by the mother body which means everything is final and we forge ahead. For the past three years we have been competing in the playoffs after preparing aggresively hoping for promotion. But all this time things didn’t go our way. Our experience has been that we play well and win the league convincingly only to fail at the playoffs, which is very unusual,” pondered Malanga, the team spokesperson.
According to him Masitaoka FC has an ambitious investment programme which could not be implemented in the lower regional leagues. Therefore it was critical that they graduate to First Division, hence the decision to purchase a slot. “We have serious investment plans for the team. It was going to be very difficult to work on that while playing region football. We believe we are ready for the challenge looking at the quality of players we have. We intend to go all the way to the premier league without changing much in the way we have been doing things,” said Malanga.
Although they continue to play their home games in Molepolole, where the team also has a clubhouse, training has been moved to Gaborone at Khuduga primary school grounds.