Rollers factions strike deal
Spencer Mmui to run the society
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. Mighty Tigers was one of the first teams to be formed in Gaborone.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
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He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
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“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”