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Rollers against Rollers

The sixth time BTC premiership and also defending champions, Township Rollers are on the verge of clinching their 7th Btc title making it 16 titles on their trophy cabinet.  Mapalastina as they are affectionately known within football circles are currently sitting on the summit of the log standings with 41 points after 19 games.

Mapalastina is the only club in Botswana premier league to have won 6 BTC championships since the local network giants took over from another communication mobile operator Mascom in 2008/2009 season.  The Blues that was under the tutelage and guidance of Zimbabwean Gaffer, Rahman Gumbo went on to clinch the title with 78 points beating their closest rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs by 13 points on that season. Rollers became the second team to win the title after their cross-town rivals Gaborone United tasted the first BTC title during its first instalment. Then,the company was popularly known as be- MOBILE.

In 2010/2011 season, nothing really changed. The Gaborone giants defended the title, the first ever team to win the BTC championship back to back. The Blues were mentored and drilled by Zambian gaffer Wesley Mondo. From there on, the team went for fine tuning than tactical over haul. The Gaborone giants went on to win the 2013/14 season leap frogging BDF X1. Although it would later become controversial, it also became rather clear that Rollers were ‘defaulter champions’ more because BDF XI were docked 6 points after taking football matters to court. Rollers won the league with 67 points.

In the 2015/16 edition, more controversy over flowed. Both Rollers and Center Chiefs battled hard and long for the crown. Rollers were also docked points for fielding midfielder Ofentse Nato whom players status committee body declared that he was a defaulter. As a consequence, Botswana football association ordered that a play off game between Rollers and Chiefs be played. Popa thrashed their rivals Chiefs by 5-1 in a game played at Molepolole sports complex.

A similar pattern and story played itself out in the following season. The blues went on to scoop 2016/2017 title under Mogomotsi Mpote who was interim coach after Englishman manager Mark Harrison went to join Absa premiership outfit Baroka FC as Technical Director. Last season, Rollers were swashbuckling as they clinch all the titles- the BTC and Mascom top 8 cup.

Will they make 4 in row?

Of their recent form the blue machine has been blowing hot and cold, more especially after the arrival of Argentine coach Rudolph Zapata. The team began to score less than 2 goals per game and consequently their play form deteriorate with some senior team players questioning the Argentinean tactics. Indicators point out that Popa will be under immense pressure to defend the title, as the two mining giants (Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy) are on their neck. Lastly year runners up Jwaneng Galaxy is currently sitting on spot number 2 with 39 points while Orapa united are on third place with 38 points.

As the second half of the season gathers momentum, Popa find themselves battling double sided problems. They have lost most of their regular and influential players like Simisani Mathumo who joined his former manager Nikola Kavazovic at Free State Stars. Mosha Gaolaolwe and Gape Mohutshiwa joined NFD side TS Galaxy in South Africa while their experienced Goalkeeper Mwampule Masule joined Chippa United who lost their keeper to Kaizer chiefs.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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Sport

P50 000 to expatriate Rollers players

14th September 2020
FRANCIS AFRIYIE

Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.

The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.

Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.

The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.

The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.

He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.

Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.

However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.

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Sport

Leopards dump jilted Tsotso

7th September 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOTSO NGELE

Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.

WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.

Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.

He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.

The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.

The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.

When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.

But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.

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