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Rollers’ AGM likely to be a bloodbath

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Amid all manner of speculation and bickering, the crucial and highly-anticipated Annual General Meeting (AGM) for embattled Township Rollers is finally here. It has been a long wait, but this Saturday marks a culmination  of what may change the fortunes of the club for good.  

As it has happened before when the divided Rollers membership met for a decisive gathering, heavy artillery firecrackers should be expected to characterise the watershed  meeting where a new leadership is set to be elected.

At the eye of the proverbial storm is a bitter and well publicised tussle over the soul and ownership of the money spinning football club with a history of over 50 years.  

The battle lines were drawn last year when a group led by one of the team’s founding members, Allen Compton and Mookodi Seisa led an insurrection against current Rollers head honcho and business mogul Jagdish Shah who came into the club as an investor. Under Shah the club reached heights never before witnessed in local football.

However, not everyone was pleased with these developments, as a cabal of supporters led by Seisa felt the club was handed to Shah without following proper   procedure. Following this, the fight for control at Rollers between the two warring factions ended up in a court of   law, in which a judgement favouring Seisa and others was delivered.

The judgement basically stated that Rollers was still a society and not a company, and the Seisa group has all along been displeased that Shah was still calling the shots in the running of the club. Things came to a head this past Saturday at the Molepolole Sport Complex following the biggest upset of the season when Rollers lost to relegation candidates BR Highlanders.

After the profound 2-1 loss at the hands of the Mahalapye outfit, the Rollers debacle took a new twist when supporters called for Seisa’s head, blaming him solely for the poor performance the team showed on the day.

It was apparent that ugly boardroom politics was finally rearing its ugly head on the football pitch. “Come down from there and apologise,” one of the supporters yelled out to Seisa who was sitting amongst some Rollers committee members at the top of the main stands. For his safety, a handful of police officers and security guards quickly went to his rescue to form a protective barricade that impeded the supporters from harming him.

Clad in their Rollers regalia, the seething mob of supporters seemed to grow angrier by the moment. “Seisa was on the radio this morning ranting about how the team should go back to being a society. He is the reason why we lost, as he made it clear on radio that he would rather see the team relegate,” another of the angry supporters shouted.

“We warned him not to show up at the game. We even know where he resides in Gaborone; we will get him,” another voice in the mob prevailed. Speaking in an interview this week, Seisa said he escaped from the sport complex unscathed as security officers later dispersed the angry crowd.

Seisa denied uttering statements to the effect that he would like to see the team relegate. “I simply answered the question of what would happen if the investor suddenly withdrew from the team. I answered the question by saying Rollers would prevail like its moniker which says, ‘Popa Popa ya ipopa.’ I was merely misinterpreted. I love Rollers just as much as other loyal supporters.”

Seisa is hopeful that Rollers peace and harmony will prevail at their weekend AGM where a new committee will be elected. But from experience, it may as well be another of the Rollers’ gatherings where blows may be traded.

The atmosphere, as the AGM nears, is pregnant with violence and it would not be surprising to see the venue teeming with several security officers. The commotion in Molepolole might yet be a microcosm of what is likely to happen this weekend.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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