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Rollers gamble with signings may backfire


The extent to which Madinda Ndlovu can maintain his squad’s balance with new arrivals will go a long way in deciding the outcome of Township Rollers’ title defence, argues STAFF WRITER MOSIMANEGAPE TSHOSWANE
Township Rollers hell-bent on achieving what Mochudi Centre Chiefs have achieved in recent times, that is to retain the championship in the Premier League era.


To help in this quest, Madinda Ndlovu and Jagdish Shah have acquired Jerome Ramatlhakwane, who can play every position in attack, on a loan agreement and Chiefs failure to retain him cut them deep. They have, against all odds, lured Dirang Moloi to strengthen their midfield, and brought in Noah Maposa to offer serious competition for both Mwampule Masule and Michael Pepukani.


Rollers are pleased with this business considering that they are entering the preliminary stages of the CAF competitions against South Africa’s heavy weight side, Kaizer Chiefs.  But the one player Rollers has splurged more money on – though there are questions as to whether they really need him – could be pivotal in their charge.


Tshepo Motlhabankwe signed in January and there are reports that he could have joined the blue team some seasons back, only for Chiefs to tighten the relations. While Rollers remain confident about the arrival of ‘Talk-Talk – there is word that there was no need to rush the deal – as one of the most expensive signing in the club’s history, how Motlhabankwe fares will be intriguing. Of the four games played thus far, Rollers has won one, and lost the other three.


The player who is on the wrong side of 30 was bought to play alongside Oscar Ncenga in central defence. Leutwetse Tshireletso was an important factor during Rollers’ title-winning run-in but his pace and injury is suspect and he is also ageing – and after a somewhat arduous campaign playing in Zebras games – he is past his best.


The concern with Motlhabankwe is how he is settling in at Township Rollers. The former Zebras left back’s temperament will be tested and questions about his sustenance are emerging particularly after Chiefs game.


Also, there is doubt whether he will ride into Rollers on a wave of enthusiasm, having previously publicly expressed a preference for Chiefs, as well as continually prevaricating over the transfer. But to some observers, it is a non starter given the mouth watering salaries at Mapalastina.


The curious case of Kobamelo Kebaikanye popularly known as ‘Swere’ appears to have been solved, though maybe only for the time being. The rumblings of discontent from the youngster feel like they could flare up again at any moment after reportedly missing training complaining about his low monthly salary.


While Dirang Moloi has been signed on a loan deal for half of the season, he is 30 and is no straight replacement for the dynamic Segolame Boy. The former Chiefs player played his first game against BDF XI and without doubt, rustiness was his main undoing.


Regarding his future, Rollers assistant coach, Zacharia Mudzadzi says: “He knows we have a very good team, we have a lot of players in his position. He is one player more. We have a lot of games particularly coupled with CAF ones, so he is very important for our team.”


Beyond these issues, though, Rollers was expected to enter the second round in serene and highly confident mood. Madinda added a first title in three years of trying and Mascom Top 8 cup dream is still within reach. However with this, comes greater expectation and Madinda will soon be fielding questions about whether not winning the league this term will constitute a failure.


A squad featuring the star turns of Lawrence Majawa, Sekhana Koko, Oscar Ncenga, Maano Ditshupo, Motsholetsi Sikele, Segolame Boy, Jerome Louis and who are backed up by Dirang Moloi, Gofaone Tiro, Thato Bolweleng, Jerome Ramatlhwakwane, and Manqoba Ngwenya should be dominant at all costs.


Rollers have a great chance of emulating what Chiefs did two previous seasons of winning a consecutive Premier League titled. If Ndlovu’s band can finish above the Kgatleng giants side, they should do so.
Premier league records show that at week 19 (same stage at this one), on their way to winning the 2013-14 season, Rollers had collected 41 points winning 12 matches. It reflects that, they had lost 2 games while 5 of the 19 games ended with a draw. They scored 30 goals while conceding only 9.


This time around, the Blues record either tilt down a bit or shows a slight improvement. They now sit second on the spot with 40 points. They have won 12 games, same as last season after 19 games. They have lost 3 games and went on to draw 4.

However, they have improved on their scoring prowess. This time around they have found the back of the net 42 times – a record of 12 more goals compared to the last season. This scoring ability is nonetheless betrayed by their defending acumen as 16 goals have been scored against them compared to 9 of the previous round after 19 games.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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