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 Mandaza
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.
Motlhabankwe 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.”
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.