Contenders to the BTC premiership throne, Township Rollers, are planning a winter of change in over-hauling the current ageing squad, to accommodate youngsters.
WeekendSport is reliably informed that a new dawn is looming, with intentions carefully mooted to cut down salary wages incurred by the club’s multi -millionaire investor, Jagdish Shah. It is reported that Joel Mogorosi who deputises Maano Ditshupo, club leading top goal scorer, Terrence Mandaza and veteran Mogogi Gabonamong are some of the players anticipated to be booted.
There are also thoughts surrounding the cases of defender, Tshepo Motlhabankwe and midfield king pin, Lawrence Majawa, but the management is believed to be adopting a more cautious approach with regards to their issues. Motlhabankwe is planning retirement at his own will and this has swiftly driven the club into a terrain difficult to manoeuvre, as it will struggle to identify his perfect replacement. This according to club sources will push Rollers to negotiate with the former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners defender for a possible stay.
Identical to Motlhabankwe’s scenario is Majawa’s who is likely to be given a one year contract extension, although he divides Rollers’ opinion, sources have indicated. The name of winger, Motsholetsi Sikele also cropped up and it is believed his lack of commitment at the club is the reason for his looming departure. Senegalese born striker, Pape Abdul Ndaw, is also being monitored by the club management. There is a belief that he was not given adequate game time this season. He and Sikele are among the few whose future at the club remains uncertain.
Meanwhile, the club is also set on cutting costs and their starting point, according to sources, is players’ salary wages. Mogorosi and Mandaza are said to be earning around P25 000 each, Ndaw and Majawa each earn close to P18 000. Built under the multi-millionaire project of Shah, the players were recruited to be an embodiment of both the club’s present and future. But all of them are now on the wrong side of 30. Motlhabankwe is 37; Majawa is 36 while Mogorosi and Mogogi are both 34.
Information reaching this publication suggests that the club will target both Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United where it intends to plough talent from. The talent of these players, along with striker, Terrence Mandaza, who is also above 30 should make the case for Rollers to finally make headline impact, particularly that they are leading the log standings, although having fallen out of the CAF competition and Mascom top 8 finals. Coach Mogomotsi Mpote agrees that as a unit, they could find an edge and this band of serial winners can get yet another glimpse at glory.
Impact players at Rollers
The striker is leading as top goal scorer with 12 goals. The team has scored a total of 43 goals from 21 games, and there is no doubt that Mandaza’s impact has been felt. Having returned to the club after spending a torrid time with Maritzburg United, Mandaza, at his prime, wrote his name into Rollers folklore.
He remains the only striker to have scored 40 goals in a season in all competitions. He found the net 31 times in premier league games and 9 goals were scored in the coca-cola cup tournament. This was captured during the 2010 season. But this season, there is doubt that the Zimbabwean striker will replicate his previous form hence the decision to part ways with him.
Often times named ‘The Good Shepherd,’ Motlhabankwe has been the pillar of strength for the Mma Masire based side. A defence marshalled by him and Mogogi has leaked 14 goals in 21 premier league matches. As a right full back, Rollers has profited more goals from his attack. His ability to turn defence into attack is the prime reason Rollers find it difficult to cut ties with him. He has a vast experience after captaining both Gunners and Chiefs; he formed a fundamental part that saw chiefs winning the league unbeaten in 2008. A similar form and performance carried him into the Rollers fold. He demonstrated maturity all the way.
The sense all have awaken for the business end is enhanced by respective pedigrees of others. Away from the Rollers stage, Mogorosi won Telkom Player of the Season with Bloemfontein Celtic in his maiden season in 2013. Before joining Celtic, he won a golden boot with Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Mogogi has also led South African power house, Super Sport United to finals of the Nedbank Cup in 2012-13 season against Kaizer Chiefs. If fully fit he might have swung the game Super Sport’s way. Majawa has been the most consistent player of all in Rollers squad; it betrays logic why he was never called to represent his country of birth, Malawi. Rollers media liaison Phempheretlhe Pheto said;”that some of the contracts of players are coming to an end, and when this was discovered, we found out that such contract involves senior players, it is not like we are chasing players.”
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.