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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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GU bills Rollers over player sale

29th September 2020
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe

The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.

Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.

This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.

According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.

In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.

It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.

In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.

Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.

“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.

When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.

To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.

Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.

But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’

Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.

The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.

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Molepolole stadium to be refurbished

29th September 2020
Molepolole-stadium

The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.

The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.

The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.

The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out.  The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.

The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele.  In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.

“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system.  The stadium will therefore be out of   bounds   when   contracted   companies   begin   their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.

The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.

The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.

Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.

The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.

This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.

“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.

The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.

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Moloi negotiates terms with Masitaoka

29th September 2020

Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.

Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.

However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.

Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.

Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.

All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.

Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.

Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.

The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.

Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.

Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.

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