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.
With just three weeks left before the World Athletics Championships kicks off in London, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has set a modest target for its athletes, demanding a paltry two medals.
The members of the team that will be participating in the event are currently training. They are expected to leave on July 10. The Botswana team, which was composed of young athletes, was able to secure seven medals at the recently concluded Africa Senior Championships held in Mauritius. They were placed sixth out of 44 participating nations.
According to Oabona Theetso, the Vice President of the Botswana Athletics Association, the team’s goal is to secure two medals at the World Championships. On the other hand, the under-20 team’s goal is to bag at least four medals.
Nevertheless, Theetso said the team which is currently on training camp encompasses of Isaac Makwala, Nigel Amos, Anthony Pesela, Bayapo Ndori, Letsile Tebogo, Isaac Makwala, and Thalosang Tshireletso of High jump just to mention the few. Theetso noted that the training camp was not able to produce a female athlete due to the failure of the female athletes to secure a ticket to the event.
Theetso also noted that the BNOC gave the BAA about P500 000 to help fund the team’s preparations for the event. Besides the training camp, the organization additionally received the same funding for the Oregon World Champion team.
When asked about the presence of renowned athlete and 800m world record holder, Nijel Amos, at the training camp, Theetso revealed that he has never officially communicated his intention to become an independent athlete.
When further pressed about the outcome of the meeting between Amos and the Minister – Theetso said, “We are unaware that he ever meets with Rakgare. If they met without the presence of BAA official, it will be wrong and highly regrettable,” he said.
When contacted for a comment Tlhobo Tlhasana who is Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture confirmed to this publication that Amos met with Minister Tumiso Rakgare a few weeks after the 2012 Olympic silver medalist made known his intention to go solo.
“The minister is at liberty to meet any sport personality from different codes in his capacity as the minister. He doesn’t need the permission from BAA or let alone BNSC to have a meeting with Amos,” he noted. Meanwhile in 2019, BAA sent a strong team of 13 athletes, with five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.
During that time two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events were relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes had left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.
The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted as they were forced out of tournament owing to injuries. Botswana eventually came home empty handed after failing to secure podium finish.
Botswana Football League (BFL) Chairperson Nicholas Zackem who is also a Gaborone United financier and director says Township Rollers should instead of being a hard-nut be remorseful on the Onkarabile Ratanang marathon case.
In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Zackhem says he has always had a good relationship with his Township Rollers counterpart, Jagdish Shah. However things took a nasty turn early this year when it surfaced that their left back Onkarabile Ratanang was not registered accordingly.
Again, the Rollers home game against GU played in February which resulted in a near stampede left him agitated such that Rollers should learn a lesson. “So with all these I think they should be remorseful and stop being militant,” he said.
His contention is, “this is recurring and with only one team – Rollers. Remember what happened in 2014 when BDF X1 was leading the log and they were docked points which in turn allowed Rollers to win.” In 2016 there was Ofentse Nato (Rollers player) saga where he was also not duly registered and now we are here again with Ratanang. This should be corrected to better our football.”
The Ratanang case has been dragging for months now and has created unnecessary chaos in local football. Of late the football league awards ceremony had to be postponed with those in the know saying it is because of the matter. A statement from BFL however says the postponement is a result of logistical challenges.
The BFL boss says he does not care what should happen to Rollers, which is arguably the most followed football team in the land. “Even if the relevant structure could fine the P100k or relegate or even be docked points I don’t care but I want them to respect football. My worry is they should be disciplined because they committed a heartfelt mistake.”
Some football commentators say there is high possibility of Rollers be axed from the elite league because they are facing a misconduct charge which means they can only plea for a lighter sentence like points docking.
When asked about reports of some players from other teams not registered accordingly just like Ratanang, Zackhem said it will be up to the relevant structures to decide because as far as he is concerned, the Rollers case is the only one that has been reported at Botswana Football Association (BFA).
ZAC ON BRIBING REFEREES
The 2021/22 football season was exciting but here and there it was blotted by allegations which were pointed at Zackhem himself as the league Chair of buying referees. He has vehemently dismissed those reports and rumours saying the current GU arsenal does not need any favors.
“We invested heavily on this team and if you have invested surely you are poised to win everything on offer. Look at the players that I have do you think I would need referees to win matches? Most of the players have also been called to the national team and that alone proves their mettle. I don’t remember the last time GU was awarded a penalty this season, it has been a team work and those referee talk is baseless.”
“I am a dreamer and perseverance is my name because after writing my Cambridge examinations a few years ago, I grouped young footballers in Francistown and started a youthful unregistered football team with them.
It was a difficult thing to do because the players were students and parents were not letting some of them to play football as they believed it might negatively affect their studies and some of the big clubs in the elite league will come and take my players.”
This is how Seemo ‘Sixteen’ Mpatane, a coach and founder of Eleven Angels football club which gained promotion to the elite league last weekend describe himself and the journey thus far. Barely two weeks ago, Mochudi Center chiefs failed to pluck Angels’ wings when they hosted them at Riverplate grounds during the first leg of the Botswana Football league promotional playoffs but this past Saturday Angels soared to a 5 – 0 win over them to reach the promised land.
The win meant Lekgamu la Bananyana (youthful side) as they affectionately known will now make a debut appearance at the apex of local league football. For a match characterized by a long stoppage time following clashes between Angels and Chiefs supporters, it was Angels who showed more battle to convincingly beat Chiefs and attain promotion.
Nevertheless, Mpatane said, “I continued to coach my team even when I was still studying at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in Francistown and it was a difficult journey because I had some school projects to do and I will divert my monthly allowance to some of my players; to feed them, provide transportation for them and also to buy them soccer boots,” he stated.
In 2013, he says, he decided to register the team officially with Botswana Football Association (BFA) in order to protect the players from other teams and to make income out of the team. He further said Lekgamu La Bananyana started in Third Division league when they got position one and gained automatic promotion to Second Division league although it was only their first season to play there.
“We struggled at Second Division because I had inexperienced youthful players and had limited resources like transportation, soccer boots and most of our players were sitting for their examinations, but we managed to avoid relegation as we finished in position four,” he alluded.
In 2017/18 season, he said the team won the Second Division League and qualified for the Debswana First Division North playoffs. During the playoffs, the team represented Francistown region, against other three teams from other regions, to be precise Chobe United, Maun Terrors and White Diamond from Boteti region.
In addition, the young tactician managed to produce quality players like Norman Mabaya who plays for Orapa united, Doctor David and Fortunate Thulare of Jwaneng Galaxy and Molaodi Tlhalefang of Security Systems who went and made their caps at the senior national team.
“I achieved one of my dreams; that is to take my team to the elite league and I’m left with one that is coaching at national level and I think after getting my license I will be ready to lead under 17, 20, 23 and even the national team cause it just requires humility, love, perseverance and commitment, but right I can offer my services cause football is in the heart,” he said.
Mpatane revealed his intention is to see more of his players participating at national level and overseas, as this week Zebras interim coach Mogomotsi Mpote called the 18-year-old Monty Enosa to be part of Zebras team which will compete for COSAFA tournament that is set to kick off next month.