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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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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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