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Butler, Gumbo in Rollers radar

Senior National team coach Peter Butler, and former Gaborone United mentor, Rahman Gumbo are reportedly top of the list of head coaches Township Rollers is considering to fill the void left by former coach, Mark Harrison.


It is not yet clear if the club is willing to activate Butler’s release clause with the Botswana Football Association (BFA), owing to reports that the Briton is fresh from penning a contract extension. But the assessment made in Gumbo, a Zimbabwean born mentor is motivated by his trails of success when coaching other local clubs. It is said he is too, a firm favorite and contact will be made in due time.


The possibility of Rahman Gumbo returning to Botswana football, where he claimed one Premier League title and a Coca-cola cup during a glittering if not fractious spell with Township Rollers, is only awaiting confirmation. The former Zimbabwean national team coach, who has led his former team, FC Platinum to a respectable position, has not declared his intention to return to the Premier League but was said to have been photographed last year talking to high ranking officials. However, Gumbo is likely to seek assurances that he will be granted complete control on foot balling matters, including transfer policy, if he is allowed to drive the team.


While the club remains tight-lipped regarding the issue of Harrison’s successor, this publication is informed that there is a serious vetting on applications and Butler is preferred by most influential minds at Rollers. The idea to court Butler follows stalled attempts by the club to lure Madinda Ndlovu. However, with Butler, there is still opposition. The Briton has a deal with BFA but is seen to be the kind and mould of a coach that Rollers desperately needs, a few months after Mark Harrison penned his contract extension with The Blues.


A key consideration for Rollers management is the possible public or media backlash when it approaches another Briton, particularly that he has a deal with BFA and that the former coach, was furious about the manner in which circumstances that saw him live his last days at Popa unfolded. But in whatever way, Township Rollers management is reportedly prepared for hostile response that may come from some quarters.


Even as many admire Orapa United mentor Ndlovu, Rollers seems unmoved in its determination that a Briton should now succeed another. The defending champions are said to be willing to interview and agree possible terms with Butler as soon as possible to start motivating and drilling the expensively assembled squad.


However, the Briton does need little introduction. His first African experience as a team coach was with the BFA.  Currently, reports suggest that Butler and BFA are not seeing eye to eye-hence Rollers’ move to cajole the mentor. Some have misgivings about Butler because of his current standing commitment with BFA. For Rollers to bag his signature, they have to activate the ‘release clause’ and possibly this can come at a hefty price, reports claim.


Certainly, Butler fits the mould of what Rollers would want from its head coach and he will easily accept a new significant involvement within a project built by Jagdish Shah. He is also highly regarded within CAF and local football, although he may not be the kind of high-profile appointment that was expected.


Finances and accommodative environment will certainly play a pivotal role in his decision should he opt to move to Township Rollers. He is known to be a tough nosed negotiator who carefully forced BFA to offer him a salary of P 85 000 per month. His basic salary is P70 000, P14 000 as his housing allowance while the remaining P1000 is cellphone allowance.


Butler was regarded as interesting and worth tested when employed back in 2014. But little was said about the British international except that he was to cost little to the association much as compared to Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic when selection was conducted.

Reports mentioned at the eve of his appointment that Keith Masters, the former BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO)-who is also of British origin-, convinced the sometimes stubborn NEC about this coach and further showed that he exemplified the massive influence he will have in Botswana football. Nobody is however easily drawn into commenting about this issue as day by day is regarded to be ‘sensitive and very important’. But word from the Rollers committee is that “the issue of the head coach will be done and dusted as time goes on”. The team is currently led by Teenage Mpote as caretaker coach.

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