Township Rollers head coach Nikola Kavazovic is reported to have orchestrated a move that would see striker Jerome ‘JJ’ Ramatlhakwane falling down Rollers playing radar.
WeekendSport learns that the Serbian born coach called the Zebras forward to a one-on-one meeting on Monday to relay the bad news. It is reported that Kavazovic 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 JJ was not encouraged to fight for his position but was rather told that the trio of Joel Mogorosi, Mthokozisi Msomi and Edwin Moalosi are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities. Despite Rollers categorically stating that JJ decided to leave on his own, high ranking team sources told this publication that it is indeed the coach who asked the rest of his technical team to push for the termination of JJ’s contract. His contract was not expire next year.
It is indicated that not all that glitters is gold at the Jagdish Shah project. Reports from Rollers technical team further state that the coach runs the show alone. Issues of player favouritism have been raised but were internally dealt with. But the shocking departure of JJ appears to evoke the same. Msomi, nonetheless, is also believed to be close to leaving the club with Rashid Mandawa, former Rollers striker, is set to return.
The team is now believed to be eyeing Orapa United deadly striker Omaatla Kebatho as a possible replacement. This is a thinking made by club technical director Dragojol Stanjolovic, reports claim. Ramatlhakwane’s departure, all the while, is seen to be baffling particularly that he was seen as a better striker than Msomi – a South African export who was signed at the beginning of the season.
Some Rollers members say the future of the local striker was dulled by injuries and a confidence that refused to boom. He rejoined the glittering Rollers project a season ago after club blood rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs could not meet his salary demands.
Seen as one of the best strikers the country has ever produced, JJ’s football career has however been oscillating. He had his best moments at the Kgatleng outfit during the seasons of 2009-10 and 2011. But his football form took a nose dive before Centre Chiefs could sell him to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) based giants Don Bosco. JJ has won one golden boot of the elite league in 2007-8 with 22 goals.
Rollers insist that they signed him genuinely to revive his football career, but in the eyes the coach, he has proved to be an expensive purchase than turned useless to The Blues and the management. There are other reports that he was released to make way for hard tackling midfielder Ofentse Nato who has since penned a 1 year agreement with the team. However, Jwaneng Galaxy is reported to be monitoring the situation with keen interest, and soon they will rush for his signature.
Township Rollers sources however continue to insist that the player was still part of their plans but the former Centre Chiefs marks man grew impatient and asked the club to release him. Sources say he wanted more game time so as to solidify his stance at the Senior National Team (The Zebras).
Rollers coach Kavazovic has however denied reports that he axed the player. He reiterated club comments that JJ was the first to ask to leave the team because he of his personal reasons. “No it is not true that I sacked the player, he is the one who wanted to leave, he said. When asked if JJ is a good striker, Kavazovic said, “JJ is an excellent striker, but he does not suit our style, instead Joel is better in our shape, I however wish him success where ever he goes.”
The move is believed to have also hurt Zebras head coach David Bright who is rumoured to be fond of the striker. Those close to Bright say the striker forms part of the back bone of plans that ‘Fakuda’ wishes to undertake this year. When reached for comment, Bright refused to remark on the transfer of players.
However Township Rollers media liaison Bafana Pheto said JJ was the one who requested to be released and no negotiation with him could have made him change his mind. “JJ made a special request that he be released, he was still contracted to the club, and there was no way we could have let him go. He even preferred to abscond from Wednesday training,” he said.
Ramatlhakwane however has room to thrive though age is a definite factor. His link-up play with midfielders has always been impressive and should he complete a move to Galaxy in time, the mining club will benefit a lot. JJ can drop deep, orchestrate play, win aerial duels, and of course take penalties. But his tendency of missing clear cut chances has earned him the wrath of some Zebras supporters. His slow thinking at crucial times- is seen to be his greatest weakness.
ROLLERS STATEMENT ON JJ: Township Rollers Football Club would like to inform that the club has released striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana. The two parties decided to amicably part ways following the player’s request to leave the club after his internal discussions with the technical team and management. Although the club made effort to retain the player, a decision was eventually reached to cordially part ways. We thank JJ for his service to Township Rollers FC and wish him well in his footballing career.
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.
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.
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.