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Rollers, Ndlovu rekindle affair

Orapa United head coach, Madinda Ndlovu is eager to hear from his former team, Township Rollers about the possibility of returning to the Mma Masire based side, reports suggest. The Zimbabwean national, would find it hard to resist another serious offer to become Township Rollers mentor for the second time.


However, the team’s management is taking their time and have rather chosen to procrastinate about making Ndlovu head coach again. Other reports suggest that Ndlovu has already met with Rollers’ chief financier, Jagdish Shah some two weeks ago. The details of the meeting have been kept under wraps, but sources have told this publication that Shah and Ndlovu are in good books and the tycoon prefers him (Ndlovu) to lead the team.


Meanwhile, Mark Harrison is still Rollers head coach, and management has yet to finalise the decision of whether to replace Harrison with Ndlovu. The former has so far failed to coax a winning formula for the team. Though it is said a number of individuals claiming to represent the Shah led club have enquired about Ndlovu to poll his interest in the position, all enquiries have been deflected.


Ndlovu on the other hand is believed to be waiting for senior members of the Rollers hierarchy to make serious contact. Those close to him say the Zimbabwean has resolved to say nothing publicly until he knows Rollers' intentions. He would, however, be disappointed if there is no approach, with reports further saying the Orapa life is not interesting to him.


Having won league titles with two big clubs in the country, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers, and a top 8 cup with Orapa United, Ndlovu’s stock, without doubt, has risen. He has signed a contract extension with United, but reports say, if need be, Rollers’ purse can buy him out of his contract. While at Rollers, Ndlovu, just like Harrison, attained A license coaching certificate.


According to reports, Ndlovu believes he could extract the best from Rollers squad, regularly labelled country-class; despite rarely delivering performances to match this for most of this season. He has also worked with few players at both Orapa United and Rollers and is said to be confident that his preparatory methods and tactical intelligence would have an immediate impact.


Though he has labelled coaching as 'a thankless job', Madinda regards a new challenge with former club as an exceptional case, sources claim.  “It's special because it is one of his former teams,' said one of his closest confidants.


“Normally you have to return to one of your former clubs when you are older, but with this Rollers side, there is a different motivation, different players. It is a special club with a special culture of football. He would welcome the chance to speak to Rollers about this job,” the friend further revealed.
The Rollers squad is one of the most expensive in this country. Although a large chunk of the blame is thrown on the side of the coach, issues of bonuses and player favouritism are evidently putting the club on the back foot.


Ndlovu has twice won the premier league title with Mochudi Centre Chiefs. He left the club under a cloud, crossing to rivals Township Rollers. At the first time of asking in 2013-14 at Rollers, Ndlovu remarkably won the league with them. As things stand, his team Orapa United tops the league standings as they are seeking to mount a serious challenge for more silverware. He is expected to steward them in the CAF competitions, and should he move back to Rollers, a similar assignment awaits him.


Orapa United is said to be worried about the recent speculation but have chosen to keep quite unless prompted to speak. The same move is adopted by Rollers. But Madinda when contacted downplayed every report that links him to Rollers. ‘‘I know nothing about Rollers interest in me, actually i am happy with Orapa United,’’ he said.  


The intention to bring back Ndlovu will mean Harrison’s nomadic life in coaching continues.


Harrison was the goalkeeper coach of Everton before becoming coach and assistant manager of Barrow, and later player-manager of Stafford Rangers and then the reserve coach and assistant manager of Oxford United in the Championship league. Interestingly, he gained his UEFA A license at the young age of 33. He later had a spell as coach of the Bangladesh national football team


Harrison then went on to manage Fortune in the South African NFD and later Hurriya in the Maldives. He was employed to assist Mpumalanga Black Aces in the South African Premier Soccer League in 2011. He was promoted to head coach position for the remainder of the 2010–11 season, but parted with the club at the end of the campaign. He went on to coach African Warriors in the National First Division


Harrison took up the job as head coach of Bay Stars, in South Africa's third tier, the SAFA Second Division in the 2012-13 season. However, he left during the season to join Chippa United. He was appointed head coach of Chippa United in April 2013 but despite never losing a game, was unable to prevent the team from being relegated at the end of the 2012–13 season.

 

He resigned from his position after four games in the 2013–14 season and became head coach of Golden Arrows on 7 October 2013. In January 2015 he was appointed head coach of Zimbabwean club, CAPS United. Harrison resigned on 16 June 2015, the same day he was announced as the head coach of Township Rollers.

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BFA faces ministry backlash

11th January 2022
MacLean Letshwiti

Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place owing to the ever burning issue of mischievous spending at operational level.

While the association coffers have suddenly dried up, with some staff members getting the boot, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has threatened to place the Maclean Letshwiti led association under strict funding for unspecified period of time.

WeekendSport learns that the sport ministry is not happy about the financial status of the association and will want to act before everything get messy.

At the close of last year, the Ministry had to intervene for the Women National Football Team to travel to Ethiopia as BFA had no penny to cover for the travelling costs.

As if that was not enough, the BFA December wages were covered from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) purse, an abnormality that BFA is at pains to explain.

All these incidents, however, coincide with a time when the Sport ministry is putting in place a new revised modeling for funding. The model requests national sports associations to explain in details the why they will need funding  for their calendar of events.

Moreover, the Ministry is eager to prioritize funding basing on the performance of the sport code on a yearly basis.

“Things have changed, we are not going to splash money like we used to do, and we want a code to explain fully how they are going to spend the money,” a source shared.

Moreover, we will be funding looking at the overall performance of the code, we are not going to fund just because it is football and it is loved by many people.”

At worst, the ministry will want the association to account and should BFA fail to balance their books, the National Executive Committee(NEC) is likely to be dissolved by the ministry.

Sources further state that the Ministry’s patience has actually wilted away concerning codes that abuse funds. In the case of BFA, sources point out that they are likely to get half subvention until everything goes back to normalcy.

On a good year, BFA subvention reaches P 5.4million annually. Should the ministry persists, BFA will start operations of the year on a budget of about P 2.7 million. It will not be for the first time the association finds itself bearing the brunt.

Sometimes in 2018 when Tshekedi Khama was the Minister, the association’s subvention were cut down to pay an old standing debt that amounted to P3 million.

However, high ranking officials at  the association believe funds can still be accounted for and refuses to accept that they have been reckless when it comes to spending. The official who does not want be named is of the view that the association had to halt FIFA projects and concentrate on incidental expenses brought by COVID -19.

According to BFA expenditure, the CEO gets the higher chunk and that’s where most of the money went. A national trip to South Africa by senior national team has also seen the association spending close to a million.

Moreover, the communication department of the association is bleeding more money after a certain PR agency was appointed nearly two years ago.

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Mamelodi rejects BFA CEO post

11th January 2022
Township Rollers CEO: Mamelodi

Township Rollers first ever Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bennett Mamelodi has reportedly turned down an offer from Botswana Football Association (BFA) to take over the reins at the association as the new CEO.  

This comes to the fore following the ‘always expected’ suspension of Goabaone Taylor in December 2021, on account of internal investigations relating to the misappropriation of funds that transpired before her eyes.

Sources speaking to this publication indicate that Taylor will eventually vacate her position, barely eight months after her historic appointment as the first ever lady to lead the often stubborn BFA secretariat.

Masterminds behind her appointment and eventual fall from grace wanted to therefore give Mamelodi an opportunity to assume the role, but the soft spoken administrator is reported to have chickened out, opting to stay put at Township Rollers.

It is not yet known why an ambitious man like Mamelodi’s feet will turn cold over a job that commands respect across football circles.

However, it is reported that the once rejected Mfolo Mfolo will have a second bite on the cherry after BFA president MacLean Letshwiti confided to his close allies that he was misled at a time when Mfolo was sacked.

The equally soft spoken Mfolo, who too has footprints at Township Rollers was fired  just after the October 2020 elections for allegedly failing to take charge when the national under 17 was disqualified  from the COSAFA tournament  after failing the MRI test.

All the while, reports indicate that Mamelodi is eyeing the Botswana Football League (BFL) post where he made his name, but close sources continue to deny that the brother to Ashford Mamelodi will want to go back to Lekidi Football Centre given the manner in which his dismissal was handled about six years ago.

At the time of going to print, he could not be reached for comment.

As things stand, Mamelodi has been appointed as the project manager of BFL while holding the fort at Rollers. He is anticipated to provide insight on how the league can source sponsors for itself and run smoothly without struggles.  He is also expected to erect a working structure for the BFL.

Mamelodi has previously worked with Jwaneng Galaxy as well as interim spells with Orapa United to help both clubs turn professional. He is said to be in love with what he does at Popa and it is why he is no longer intrigued by BFA political positions.

However, sources mention that Mamelodi will be tried once again but are skeptical that the man will agree to the deal even if it is mouthwatering.

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Rollers veterans face exit

20th December 2021
premier league

Township Rollers veterans, who are reaching the end of their careers are hoping to part on high note, but the club has had a slow start to the season, playing second fiddle to its city rivals, Gaborone United.  The Reds has won the first edition of FA Cup since 2012 — now under the sponsorship of network giants, Orange — to send a memo to league rivals that this season is not business as usual.

Rollers has responded in controversial fashion, firing coach Hassan Oktay after suffering the ignominy of being knocked out by top flight football rockies, Masitiaoka.  The Blues have since appointed Frenchman Romain Folz to turn the club’s pot of gold into silverware, an attempt that his predecessor, Oktay has failed early into the season.  After clinching players with vast experience, the expectation is still enormous at Popa that all available cups including the league title should find space in their trophy cabinet.

Also, the club would want to traverse a torrid passage of CAF champion’s league, reaching group stages, once more. It is in this regard that Ofentse Nato is hoping for his own great leap forward in effort to end his injury nightmare. The no nonsense defensive midfielder has only featured once for the team this year owing to unspecified injuries.  This is the first time, in his football carrier that Nato misses the first five opening games of the season.

His absence could have left Rollers struggling. But he too, could struggle to return to his former self, missing the opportunity to drive Rollers back to glory days, alongside the rest of a gilded trio of the club; Maano Ditshupo, Simisane Mathumo and of course Motsholetsi Sikele. But the teams’ insistency and promise to make a loud impact this season is yet to bear fruits. The quartet will have to stand strong otherwise the ambition mirrors a tomorrow that will never come.

As part of the multi-million project of Jagdish Shah, the players were recruited to embody the present and future of the club. But all of them are on the wrong side of 30. Maano is 36, Nato is 32, Mathumo is 30 while Sikele is 30.  Both Ditshupo and Mathumo are exchanging the armband while Sikele has almost lost his starting berth to youngsters. Nato is also slowing down and it appears he has seen his better days.

The talent of the big four should make the case for Rollers to finally make headline impact, particularly in the league and FA cup starting in January next year. Rollers coaches agree that as a unit they could find an edge and this band of serial winners glimpse glory. The sense all could awaken for the business end is enhanced by their respective pedigrees. All the four know the pleasure of taking Rollers to glory days, they also understand the pain of failing with the club.

Ditshupo in particular, has been the most consistent player of all in Rollers squad; it betrays logic why he was never called to represent the country. In the first five games of the season, Rollers have been nothing but a luke warm club. They have emitted mixed reactions. They started well, clobbering Lobatse Outfit, Extension Gunners by 2-0.  Against premier league rookies, Masitaoka, they huffed and puffed, but the absence of midfielder Ditshupo was conspicuously seen as they were knocked out of the tournament.

However, the quartet returned to the lineup for the first time as a unit against Notwane in a midweek fixture.  Rollers were not convincing despite winning 1-0 to return to the summit. Judging by their performance and age, the quartert might not play Rollers ball again next season as premier league retirement looms.

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