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.
A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.
Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.
This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.
Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.
Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.
However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts. They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.
FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.
It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.
Hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele has completed a move from Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, to Gaborone United in a reported lucrative two-year deal, WeekendSport can confirm.
The Reds have finally made their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be happy to have completed the transfer after a heavy fall out with Galaxy management.
He wants to play football that pays, something which Galaxy cannot offer and the allure of GU was certainly too much for Ditsele to turn a blind eye.
The team as led and directed by construction magnate, Nicholas Zakhem- who is reported to have given ‘CCTV’ a mouth-watering P30 000 per month plus winning bonuses contract in demonstration of their seriousness to win silverware.
Sometime in March, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum-to either improve his contract benefits or let him go-after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the devastating effects of the corona virus pandemic.
Galaxy had arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P 3000 until a time football returns to the field with moneyed sponsorships.
“We are proud to have signed him because he will add quality to our squad once football returns. Always a quality player and like him and he is now available, you don’t say there is no football, you tie him down before other clubs beat you to his signature,” said club Director, Nicholas Zakhem.
It is believed that Ditsele has always recognized GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. Ditsele was at Gilport Lions before he was snatched up by Galaxy and now GU. His moves come as no surprise as his dream has always been to play for high paying clubs.
No doubt, Ditsele has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but the lad has always felt that the time is right to move on. Ditsele leaves having a year left on his contract.
It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with the last season being his best, winning the premiership title.
Once Galaxy has sent him to overseas club at Highlands Park but returned home after a short stint.
However, the fan favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, The Zebras, was never going to be held by the terms of his contract.
Despite encountering an injury scare ahead of the IAAF Diamond League circuit this week, Nijel Amos’ Olympic dream is still on track and he remains ever capable to stun the world by replicating his famous feat at the 2012 Olympic Games.
This was confirmed by his coaches and doctors after the Botswana star suffered a minor calf injury that forced him out of the weekend race. The multiple conqueror of 800m races is expected back on the track on June 9th to shake off this injury scare and face the possibilities of winning another Olympic medal. This likelihood only has one month to go!
Amos remains the only Motswana athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, a rare but magnificent accomplishment that still lingers in the memory of Botswana sport fraternity. At the time, he was only 18 years and strange enough, that silver medal felt like Gold for many.
His anticipated presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on course to renew the long standing rivalry between him and the Kenyan 800m world record holder, David Rudisha. This is the same Kenyan competitor who won Gold when Botswana’s Amos came second in a race that would become the toast of the competitions at the London Olympics.
However, two years later, at 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amos dethroned Rudisha in another breath-taking race that confirmed and sparked the ongoing thrilling competitiveness — filled with pleasure, pain and sporting hatred- between the two.
When Amos was beaten in London, he never cared who won the race but was ecstatic to have finished at the podium, writing his name into Olympic Game folklore.
But in Glasgow, for Rudisha, defeat seemed not to have diminished his hopes. After the finish, when the lacerations were sharpest and the wound deepest, Rudisha was pictured hugging Nijel Amos, and congratulating him for a job well done.
Then, Amos was just 20 years, oozing with confidence. The shy looking Rudisha wrapped a Kenyan flag around his back and went on a lap of honour to celebrate his silver medal.
If there was disappointment Rudisha masked it with the skill of an actor. He smiled and waved as he received a standing ovation. “Amos is a tough competitor and he was very good,” Rudisha once admitted, stating matters of sporting facts that would follow between the two runners. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.
But then, there have been echoes of a swollen Muhammad Ali after his defeat to Joe Frazier, winking at the hundreds of fans who had converged at his hotel, determined to show light on his darkest day. The bruises on that day were to Rudisha’s record, not his face. Like Ali, he promised to be back.
But that night was about Amos. A callow 18-year-old who finished second to Rudisha at London 2012 sharpened his confidence, hardened by beating his idol twice on the Diamond League circuit, grew with each passing year.
However, both athletes began to suffer sporting injuries of their own, they lost the edge they were well-known for and it is why at the 2016 Olympic Games, the bookmakers were upset when they could not meet at the final. It was Amos who faltered in the heats and although Rudisha became the first Kenyan to retain an Olympic title, it was not as scintillating as it was in 2012.
Now with a month to go, Amos is living in prayer, hoping he stays free from injuries. He is looking forward to become the star again. He has won everything at the diamond league and broke every national record, but his eyes are still fixed on the ultimate prize- the Gold medal at the international stage, with or without David Rudisha.