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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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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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