Tonight Coke awards will mark the end of a 21 year-old Coca-cola cup journey in local football fraternity.
In these two decades, the Cup brought thrills of joy and heart breaking moments. It afforded most lower division teams a chance to compete against the best in the country, as well as a platform for these non-entities to make a name for themselves as they caused major upsets, by beating big guns in the elite league. Only few by then knew Stone Breakers, a Letlhakane based team.
They went on to become a household name when in 2002 they knocked out Mochudi Centre Chiefs. And again in 2003 BDF XI, under the tutelage of the current national soccer team coach Stan Tshosane. Stone Breakers, under then emerging coach, Kenneth Mogae beat BDF 2-1 in extra time.
Mogae is the current assistant coach to Tshosane in the national team.
In the following edition of 2004 Boteti Young Fighters emerged as the new kids on the block, claiming among their casualties three times Coca-cola champions, Mogoditshane Fighters, who were unstoppable under coach Major David Bright. Fighters, not only boasted the best players in the domestic league in the likes of Masego Nchingane, Antony Matengu and Barnny Marman among others, but were also renowned for winning both domestic league and representing the country in African champions league.
Next in line in the same edition Boteti went for Extension Gunners whom they knocked out in a game, which rattled supporters to the point that they thronged the field baying for the referee’s blood.
Throughout the Coke cup editions new coaches also emerged. Who can forget Seth Moleofhi, the former Tasc coach, who was assisted by Teenage Mpote who is now the current Under 20 assistant coach? They led Tasc to their first and last cup success and players like Michael Mogaladi, Tebogo Mothusi and Ernest Amos became household names.
After a succesful career in his playing days, Pio Paul shot to stardom in 2007 when he led BMC football club to its first coke cup success, and Philemon Makhwengwe became a household name when he etched Gaborone United in the annals of history as the last winners of the 21tst Edition of Coca-Cola cup Competition. It remains to be seen who will emulate this legacy left by Coke Cup.