The two warring factions at Township Rollers football club have reached a temporary compromise that will allow the club and financiers to seek a permanent solution to the impasse.
For the first time in the existence of the team, Township Rollers Football Club will have two chairpersons in their executive committee leading the society.
The team reached the temporary solution this Wednesday following weeks of disagreements and discontentment as to who should take the reins at the club after a court ruling had favoured those against the current club structure.
The arrangement, a practical compromise is expected to stand until a special congress is held to chatter the way forward.
Rollers sources say Spencer Mmui will take the fort of chairmanship of the society – a position he held at the time when the privatisation case headed for the courts. Walter Kgabung, who has been holding the fort will remain in his position but will be responsible for all league activities concerning the club.
The proposal will be put before the irate club financer, Jagdish Shah and expectations are that he will easily accept a genuine football involvement.
Smiles of untamed joy are believed to be the order within the walls of Rollers’ offices, but confusion threatens to sink in after bringing the two warring chairpersons into the same fold.
It is reported that a meeting this past Tuesday collapsed frantically as the men at the heart of the club could not agree on the way forward.
Unsuccessful proposals and initiatives have been put together and deliberated upon ever since the court declaration that Rollers Football Club, one of the most decorated clubs in the country should not be administered and controlled by a company.
Sources at the Gaborone West based giant confirmed to this publication that negotiations for a truce first hit a brick wall leaving the club at cross-roads.
The two warring factions have since failed to smoke the peace pipe when a group spearheaded by former premier league chairperson, Spencer Mmui and one Mookodi Seisa proposed that at least two members from the existing committee be co-opted to stand in the new interim committee before the chief financer is consulted regarding the way forward.
Highly placed sources say the titles of manager and secretary general were suggested to stand. Sydney Magagane and Khumoyaone Masonya hold the fort on these positions respectively.
On the other side, a group led by Walter Kgabung – the premier league board chairperson, insisted that an interim committee be elected and a special congress be held immediately to allow members and supporters to have an ultimate say on who should be inside the executive committee of the society.
Reportedly, the faction that sought legal redress vehemently disregarded the idea of a special congress and hopes to normalise the situation are slowly disappearing by the horizon.
All the while, it is widely acknowledged that supporters and members are likely to bring the Mookodi Seisa camp crumbling down. Somerset Gobuiwang, who is not in the picture, hopes that the special congress will be at his mercy.
The club’s current chairman, Walter Kgabung has reiterated in a press release that “The Executive Committee is working around the clock to address the issue of the club’s sustainability following the High Court judgement of the 6th August, 2015. The Executive Committee has met with the Applicants and Mr. Mmui to try and forge an amicable resolution of all issues arising from the judgment of Dambe J.”
According to Kgabung, the applicants have embarked on a desperate coup attempt on the duly elected Executive Committee and to establish in its stead an illegal committee made up of loyalists and apologists of the Applicants, chief among them, David Spencer Mmui.
“This is being done under the false pretext that the Judgement of Dambe has endorsed Mr. Mmui and his followers as the legitimate committee of the Society. Mmui and his followers have nonetheless failed to point out any wording in the judgment from which their claim arises. It falls to logic that if they believed in the correctness of their claims they would have approached the court to ensure compliance through contempt of court or other proceedings.”
Township Rollers impeccable sources have narrated a story on how Somerset Gobuiwang was collectively elevated to the plum position without qualms and misgivings. The teams’ confidential documents reveal that Rollers supporters ushered the club into the hands of Somerset Gobuiwang and confidently gave him a 51 % share while society remained with 49%.
Sometimes between 2010 and 2012 in Gaborone, Somerset and his Rollers foot soldiers called a special congress where the then chief financer admitted point blank that the club’s coffers are drying hence the need to source for an immediate financer.
It is claimed that characters in the mould of Mmui, Seisa and co agreed in unison in pursuit of a financer. Details on how Jagdish Shah was linked with the club are sketchy but it was almost a foregone conclusion that he was arriving to turn the club‘s fortunes around.
Club sources say Gobuiwang agreed without wavering to freely give Jagdish some of his shares. It is widely believed that Gobuiwang who had 51% at the time of Shah’s arrival could not steal his heart and let 11 percent of his shares to be in the hands of Shah.
The other 29 percent of his shares was acquired from the society who at the time had 49%. After the dust settled, both Gobuiwang and Shah had an equal 40% with the society acquiring 20%.
DID YOU KNOW?
Township Rollers was formed back in 1961 in Gaborone, by a group of men and women who worked for the Public Works Department (PWD), a unit of Government under the then Bechuanaland Protectorate. At its inception the team was named Mighty Tigers. â€¨Mighty Tigers was one of the first teams to be formed in Gaborone.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) is running without a substantive Technical Director since parting ways with South African native, Serame Letsoaka, who jumped ship midway through his contract in 2019.
This glaring revelation has left the Technical Department of the association hamstrung to fully operate by the book hence a plethora of problems protruding on the very nose of it.
This is the reason it took long for the association to take stern action against Zebras gaffer, Adel Amrouche. His departure was sanctioned at the eleventh hour when players’ patience had long wilted, threatening to leave the camp.
Pundits will therefore observe that it is the absence of a Technical Director that has caused all hell to break loose at Lekidi Football Centre.Since the departure of Letsoaka, the TD position has been more or less vacant as it has been manned by unqualified and somewhat incompetent administrators to date.
The TD position requires a CAF A-License qualification as well as a Diploma in Secondary Education as minimum qualifications. Among the specific duties of TD is; training and development of coaches, including design and updating of coaches manuals, facilitating licensing courses, developing a coaches Code of Conduct, arranging for expert and specialist coaches to deliver training clinics, education on rules of the game and creating and maintaining a library of resources including books, videos and articles for coaches to access.
The responsibility also include establishing and delivering a comprehensive and nationwide Grassroots programme at both the community level, in schools, and in the schools through clubs through strategic partnerships within the communities and with various government ministries and agencies.
TD also advices BFA on all matters related to the effective development of football in Botswana and is accountable for the development of a strategy and policy for the performance of football programmes.
Other duties include working with Youth National teams and coaches through development programmes in order to enable BFA to attain its goals within CAF and FIFA, including putting in place clear systems and processes for identifying and developing talented players.
After Letsoaka left, BFA reached out to Wire Kaelo, a Gaborone United legend currently holding the position of assistant coach at Security System FC, but eventually he was not appointed to the post.
Despite rumours to the effect that BFA had agreed terms with Kaelo to this day, the Association has not come out as to what happened to the alleged marriage.
BFA subsequently appointed one Dr Carolin Braun, on secondment from the German Olympic organisation, a move that left the association rooted in abrasive factionalism.
In particular, local coaches and the general football fanatics have always cried foul claiming that Dr Braun is not fit to hold the position of TD especially in a growing football environment like Botswana.
There is growing concern that Dr Braun does not have the pre-requisite credentials to be appointed for this plum post as she has never held any significant position within the football fraternity, not even at amateur level.
“It was a first in the history of Botswana football to see a TD doubling up as assistant coach to the senior national team and there has been no tangible coaching courses since the departure of Serame Letsoaka and this has been attributable to the vacant position of TD,” a source remarked.
BFA is currently failing to communicate CAF’s decision that the ill-fated CAF “B” and “C” courses held during Serame’s last days were not sanctioned and therefore attendants will not be certificated.
Over 50 local coaches participated in the courses and last year, most of those coaching in the Premier League had to be given waivers by the BFA Technical Committee before they could be accredited.
CAF has since indicated that the issue of waivers by national associations will not be entertained, something which might throw local games into disarray.BFA is still failing to come up with a coaching philosophy despite Serame having started groundwork before his departure.
Other countries such as Zambia have since resumed CAF coaching courses whilst in Botswana is still business as usual despite the impending challenges caused by indiscretion and lack of foresight.
Despite BFA having advertised the position of TD and subsequently holding interviews where recommendations were done by the Technical and Development Committee, the BFA NEC has refused to endorse the recommendation for reasons only best known to them.
Yet, there is a lingering fact that the NEC is clueless when it comes to technical matters. There is not even a single individual in the NEC who holds any coaching qualification including the Chairman of the member responsible for technical and development matters, Masego Ntshingane.
When asked about the position of the TD, Ntshingane said the association is well aware of the matter and will son fill the post. “Yes, it is true the association has not appointed a TD after Letsoaka’s departure, but we are working around the clock to hire capable people,” he said.
However, local coaches believe that it’s a travesty of justice to expect non-technical people to make meaningful contributions on technical matters to the extent that they can veto recommendations from a committee of renowned technical experts.
It is not business as usual in the operations manual of African football. Ever since the ascendency of Dr. Patrice Motsepe to the CAF plum post, the African football governing body is ringing changes to satisfy the demands and governance standards of the modern game.
However, it appears that what is coming out from the high offices of the game is a bitter pill to swallow for local clubs, some of which are touted to be the best in the land.
Connectedly, CAF has issued a circular to the effect that only coaches holding the CAF “A” education license will be permitted to sit on the technical dugout during the upcoming inter club competitions. This communication has been sent to all 54 CAF member associations in May 2021.
However, it seems local clubs have not been appraised on this development even though both Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United have shown desire to represent the country in the CAF competitions.
It comes to the fore now that the two clubs can successfully represent the country if they engage coaches with the pre-requisite qualifications which is now an insurmountable task due to the COVID-19 impact on club finances.
Both clubs have hired coaches who attended the ill-fated BFA conducted CAF “B” and “A” coaching courses which were held in Lobatse almost two years ago.
To date the coaches await the completion of the courses and certificates while CAF has made it clear that the courses were not sanctioned as they were held during the era that coaching licenses were suspended, a situation that BFA was well aware of and has since accepted the consequences.
The BFA is still at sixes and sevens on how to break the issue to the affected coaches as it is likely to cause a huge public embarrassment and backlash from the coaching fraternity.
“We all know about the problem, BFA is promising to come to the bottom of the matter as we continue to engage them,” says Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFCA) interim President, Daniel Nare.
CAF has also made it clear that this time there will be no waiver for coaches without the pre-requisite qualification because the Confederation has been too lenient in the past. During the last CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup, both Galaxy and Orapa United coaches were given a reprieve by CAF Technical Department as they did not even have the CAF “B” license.
When approached for clarity, the Spokesperson for Galaxy, Tankiso Morake said they are playing a waiting game when it comes to CAF issues especially that BFA is yet to reply to their letter. “Honestly, there is nothing concrete I can share because no one is certain about anything. We are waiting to be replied by the association so that we can finalize everything,” he said.
While United was not available for comment, it is clear that both clubs will need to hire coaches with the needed qualifications otherwise playing in this year’s edition of African football mirrors a tomorrow that may never come.
A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.
Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.
This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.
Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.
Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.
However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts. They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.
FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.
It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.