The recent 0 – 3 loss by Diamond City FC to Bush Bucks FC was not taken lightly by Diamond City coach Zakes Mojanaga.
He labelled it as an insult to his team, as it is the second loss in a row to the same opponent in the same tournament.
The second annual Knidrich M Top 16 Tournament, hosted over three days from Saturday, 23 September, to Monday, 25 September, at Galeshewe’s Artificial Turf, saw Bush Bucks successfully defend their title.
Sponsored by Onkgopotse Mogorosi, a local, the tournament has been running since last year and is projected to run for a period of three years.
To Mogorosi, it is an effort of ploughing back into football development through sponsoring trophies and soccer kits for the given period.
He expressed his satisfaction at the improved turnout in support of the tournament, including various stakeholders who came on board.
“It will help LFA u.16 and u.17 leagues to qualify for bigger tournaments,” says Mogorosi.
According to coach Mojanaga, he did not anticipate the 0 – 3 lashing that they suffered after they had managed to beat one of the teams that they regard as the strongest in the league by 5 – 4 in penalties during the semi-finals.
The Diamond City boys suffered their punishment during the first half of the game, for which they admit sloppiness due to underestimating their opponents.
“We underestimated them and were not expecting them to win, as they displayed slowness during the semi-finals with Benfika United FC, which they won 2 – 0.
“We only realised late in the game that their performance was initially their strategy of not tiring themselves out ahead of the finals.
“And they walked over us early enough through scoring three goals and defending viciously, nogals during the first, while my boys were still relaxed,” says the disappointed coach.
“It was only in the second half that my boys tried to push, but it was too little too late to get the win that we anticipated.”
According to Mojanaga, their biggest mistake could be due to their inability to look into their failures of the 2016 tournament, where they also lost to Bush Bucks in the final game.
“All we knew is that we needed to win this game, in which we tried to work hard on all the techniques.”
His next move will be to work on strengthening his sloppy defence and preparing good strikers.
He further highlighted that it was mostly his midfielders who scored, leading to the defence losing concentration.
He also intends to prepare his team to work together better while under pressure, as was the case when Bush Bucks dropped the bombshell.
“We happen to find ourselves in this situation many times and struggle to survive.
“But we need to take this trophy next year.”
But the winning coach of Bush Bucks FC, Tshekisho Tokelo, did not seem to feel the win, as he shrugged it off as “just one of those”.
Known as “Mr Thatha Zonke”, the coach brags of being too tired to lift more trophies, as they fill his living room, only for his players to end up leaving the team and roaming the streets due to a lack of challenges.
“I am grateful to the sponsors of this tournament, but it should serve as a build-up to bigger things for the LFA,” he says.
“I do not see any way forward in these wins, because that is just where we end up, on this artificial pitch.”
He says his players alone feel they do not have enough competition within the structure.
“My players lift winning trophies each and every year, at every award ceremony, but the league does not do anything to improve the standard of the players and that of the coaches.
“That is why I admit that they get knocked out at nationals due to a lack of exposure.”
His wish, as he said, is for the LFA to bring improvements through bringing training sessions for coaches and more scouts to the province.
“We have talent here, all we need is support, as the coaches are not workshopped and upgraded with the latest football techniques.”
He quoted that the last training session for coaches was in 2013, just like a scout, Molefi Ntseki, highlighted two weeks ago in Kimberley.