Partaking in the Coke Cup is like mixing business with pleasure as it combines my favourite football tournament with my favourite drink.
Last week we got off to a flying start when we beat the not so great North Tigers in a bad tempered game in the Ghetto. If some pundits thought that GNT might cause an upset, they were wrong. The only upset was to our coach who was sent off for something he was supposed to have said to one of their player’s.
Having worked with him at Rollers for two seasons I have always found him to be a mild mannered man who knows how to stomach frustration. Even when we were robbed he would always remain decent, so I was shocked about what happened in Francistown. Actually it is not him who said whatever was supposed to have been said to the referee. In any case it was all a bit of storm in a Coke cup.
Infact the 3-1 score was not a true reflection of the game as we were in cruise control. I was substituted almost at the end of the game and some may think it was due to a lack of match fitness. I prefer to call it a tactical switch as by then the job had been one and it was game over. But whatever the reason the coach will be better placed to know.
NOT SO SWEET 16
This stage of the competition is a make or break round as far as my track record is concerned. It will be a nervous weekend for me as it is either the point at which my team goes out, or we go all the way to the final.
My mother hasn’t helped the matter as she has just sent me a cryptic message warning me to beware of the Kanye Swallows! It is like some kind of omen or prophecy, but being drawn against them has added significance for Tshepo Motlhabankwe and myself.
Kanye Swallows has players I grew up with at home in Kanye. Obviously it will be a very tough encounter, that team has some quality players. We played street football together and competed at Under-12. To be honest even though I play for a Mochudi team Kanye produces some of the best players. During the game I will however forget about our history and do a job for my employer. Actually all players from Kanye who came to play in the Premier League have made it to the Zebras. These include the likes of Duncan Kgopolelo, Seabo Gabanakgosi, Teenage Tsalaile and Phenyo Mongala.
Motlhabankwe played for Kanye Pirates, which is a rival of Swallows just like he Rollers and Chiefs rivalry, so this will open old wounds as he has played against almost all of them as well.
I have now been at Chiefs for two weeks and it has been a great re-union with former gaffer Raman Gumbo and Itai Gwandu. They have really helped me settle in after all the hype of my move. I travelled in the team bus for the first time and still got the best seat. The difference is that there are now older players than me, so it can’t be a privilege of old age.
I hear people say moving from Rollers will jeopardise my chances of playing professional football outside the country. Well, I have this to say to them, I won’t be the first and last player not to achieve that. I’m not saying I don’t have an ambition to go outside – it’s just that at the moment I’m on the inside looking out!
THE THRILL OF THE CHASE
It is good to play the league and cup at the same time. I still believe the race is on, and like any ambitious player one has dreams of doing a league and cup double. It is a different challenge to be in the chasing side after being with Rollers at the top of the league for so long. You have to keep winning and hope the other side slips up. One thing I know is that if Rollers do go all the way, we will make them sweat for the title. Maybe it is the law of attraction that we are destined to fight them in the league and also face them on the way to the final. Now that would be interesting!
Enjoy your cup weekend and tune in to my column again next week.