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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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Sport

City turns to BFA tribunal over relegation

23rd November 2021
Premier league players

Botswana Football Association (BFA) arbitration tribunal is set to hear a case in which Molepolole City Stars is challenging the 2019-20 football season curtailment that led to their untimely relegation. The season was abruptly ended amid the ravaging COVID-19 scourge when the government decided to place the whole country under lockdown.

In particular, City Stars, under Somerset Gobuiwang, challenges the rationale and fairness of the association to end the league when there were several options to pursue. The club does not want to contest the authority of the national executive committee to stop the league but argues that the decision to relegate them based on the log standing was unfair, irrational and unreasonable.

Moreover, the decision was against the spirit of the game and not the most appropriate one under circumstances where they were still about 10 league games to play. As the papers were submitted, City Stars argues that the most appropriate step would have been to suspend the league and protect the league standing. “The league would then resume when it was safe to do so, as indeed it is happening now, with the log standings maintained as they were,” the court papers read.

The team, which was languishing at the bottom of the table when the decision was taken, also argues and gives an alternative that the league could have ended without relegation issues. City Stars argues, “This would be in recognition of the undeniable facts that the league was not complete and that the log standings at the time were not in any way an indicator of how they would have been had the league been allowed to run its course.”

Furthermore, Molepolole City Stars are livid that the association did not consider that the complainant had valid contracts with its staff and players and that such agreement could not be terminated abruptly. On the one hand, BFA said it was looking at three options before ending the league. Facts and scenarios informed each decision, and one was independent of the other, it was argued.

The first option, BFA says, was to stop the league where it was and crown the team that occupied the first place, which was Jwaneng Galaxy. Furthermore, three teams lying at the bottom of the table would be relegated, and teams on pole positions from Debswana First Division north and south will be promoted automatically.

By all accounts, the association felt it was a controversial option to undertake but also fairer for the sake of progress. The second available possibility was to stretch the season and consequently change the football calendar. “There has been a shelved proposal that recommends the change of our season from the usual August-May calendar to February – November because of health reasons,” BFA president MacLean Letshwiti said before making the decision.

The last possibility was to nullify all the leagues. This was — and continued to be — the last resort. Across all the global leagues, the domestic campaign had only 10 matches left, which could, in theory, be completed in the space of five weeks. In the end, BFA feels that a decision had to be made for the sake of progress. The dates of the hearing are yet to be made public.

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Sport

Is it time to take Piro serious?

23rd November 2021
GU

Pontsho Moloi’s character and football standing as a young coach have embodied simplicity and hard work for far too long. Moloi is a local bred coach who has so far threatened foreign gaffers with his coaching philosophy, a style that is exciting and irking football purists in equal measure.

As Moloi is famously known in football circles, Piro has coached a few different clubs in the homeland, but his stewardship of Gaborone United last season — going into the new one- remains his best memorable achievement ever. Before the 2019-20 season was stopped because of the COVID-19 outbreak, GU was one of the league’s favourites.

But as any self-respecting purveyor of sporting cliché knows, it is never a bad idea to keep quiet and let your football do the talking. The only hanging problem for Piro is that he has often wanted to let his talking do the talking — which is a shame since, by and large, his football, both as a player and coach, has spoken loudly enough.

Piro’s coaching resume is fascinating and worth the test for a coach whose career is barely two years old. He has presided over big guns, one staggeringly good debut top-flight campaign, one freewheeling title charge, and one dramatic league season. Yet throughout, he has continued to serve as a punch line, painted by a substantial cohort.

Now, three games into the current season, his Gaborone United side sit at the top of the pile, having won all their games and remarkably keeping a clean sheet. No team has scored more goals than Piro’s side. Is Botswana football finally ready to recognize Piro as an elite-level coach? In fact, why has it not done so already?

The answer is not straightforward, regardless of what some of his harsher detractors would want to believe, although it is true that he has often failed to do himself any favours when a microphone has been aimed his way. In today’s culture, it only takes one slip of the tongue — one tiny sound bite lacking in self-awareness — to make you look silly.

Piro’s model has worked across the board: promotion-chasing minnow, sleeping giant, trophy-hovering Goliath figure, and now an aspirational upper-middleweight.

In each instance, he has found a new gear, improved his team beyond expectation and created a side better than the sum of its parts, at least for a time. Young and veteran players excel under his watch. Attackers — especially hard-running and bloodthirsty centre-forwards, Thatayaone Kgamanyane — flourish like never before. And for once, he has needed big money to make significant progress. Yet even at United, the least tangibly successful of his last three jobs and one where things went downhill towards the end, he put together sensationally exciting teams.

Now at GU, pundits still ask whether he will last longer at the top or he will soon fall. His demonstrations this season speak volumes about winning a bigger and better trophy this season. Can he deliver, or time will tell? Part of the answer will come as the season wears on.

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Sport

GU, Rollers – early favorites

16th November 2021
Rollers & GU

Football giants Township Rollers and Gaborone United have emerged as early favourites to win the newly refined Botswana Football League (BFL), following a perfect start to the season.   

There is a sense of relief from different quarters that this new football season, still striving to secure a title sponsor, is set to be packed with more excitement and action than anticipated. Seasons’ never-ending transfer rumour mill, coupled with half-paced friendlies, have their place in football, but they were indeed only going to be a tasty little snack before the sumptuous banquet, which is a new season.

Each team has played three games. At the time of going to print, Gaborone United, driven by local gaffers Innocent Morapedi and Pontso Moloi, remains in pole position with 9 points, maintaining an unbeaten record. The club also holds another record as only to club yet to concede. Also, on pole position is Township Rollers, who remain of the favourites to clinch the title come season end.

Languishing at the bottom of the log is Extension Gunners. The Lobatse based outfit have already pressed panic buttons by sacking their coach. It is still early days, but it appears The Peleng Boys, as they are affectionately called, are suffering early relegation season syndrome. They have played three games and are still struggling to find a win, let alone finding the back of the net.

Big guns like Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy have tried to bolster their squads but have failed to stamp authority in their first three encounters. Galaxy look set to be a better team, but two registered wins and a loss may as well betray this standing belief. Orapa, on the other hand, has grouped experienced players in their camp. Die-hard followers hope that this may be a fruitful season, but a midweek loss against Police XI in their backyard leaves followers questioning the readiness of their technical team as the season gets hot.

Township Rollers are breathing heavily on Gaborone United backs. The two teams now becoming rivals are equal on points, but much of the scrutiny is on GU, whose defence might be critical to this year’s championship.  The need for news and views — not to mention wins in Lobatse and Francistown or wherever will once again become the all-consuming passion in many football lovers’ lives. Some had reason to be happier than most. That is why Sua Flamingoes and Masitaoka are ecstatic for their first 2021 victories.

A logical decree is that the Premier League’s usual suspects will have it all their way again. Talent galore and bottomless pockets of cash were enough to ensure yet more silverware ends up in already crammed trophy cabinets. The cream, as they say, always tends to rise to the top. Week 1 of this first half-season was the most interesting one. Eighteen goals were scored, and Thatayaone Kgamanyane of GU became the first player to score a Premier League goal this season.

Premier League Chief Executive Officer Solomon Ramochothwane believes this will be the most competitive season of recent seasons. “It is tight and competitive, and we might have a new champion at the end,” he opined. He also expressed happiness that numbers will grow at the stadiums as time goes on. But beyond the shadow of a doubt, the return of Premier League fourth round — as remarkable as the first three laps — will signal several months of nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat tension.

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