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NO WAY BACK

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The Township Rollers brethren are in one accord as the club embarks on the first steps to being a fully-fledged professional entity.

For one of the most successful football brands in the country, the road to their last weekend’s Annual General Meeting at Gaborone West Community Hall had been long and marked by a lot of hostile episodes. However, the dust has seemingly settled as to whether the club returns to society status or continues on the path to commercialisation by bringing on board an investor with financial clout.

Before electing a new committee to take the club   forward, the Popa faithful agreed on a commercialisation model to adopt. Under this new model, Popa is expected to lease their teams, especially the mainstream premiership side, to an investor, believed to be the local business mogul, Jagdish Shah. In return, the investor is expected to pay the society a certain fee per year as determined by the value of the club.

On paper, this seems like the logical and yet progressive model. This arrangement, dubbed ‘hybrid,’ is expected to take the club to greater heights. If such a model were executed as planned, this would be a positive step towards commercialising football in Botswana and other clubs in the beMOBILE Premiership would be expected to follow suit.  

Most of the Rollers supporters had been vocal and critical towards going back to the society as evidenced by the threats towards influential yet radical supporter Mookodi Seisa after he allegedly called for the team to revert back to the old way of doing things even if it meant they relegate to a lower division.

During the AGM, Rollers Secretary General Khumo Masonya said there was no way the club would go back to operating as a society as winds of change were sweeping through African football calling for the team to commercialise and operate like other companies. He cited the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) invitation for a club-licensing workshop last year in  December.

“Club licensing in African football basically means the Societies role in team management will be reduced, there will be need for positions like Chief Executive Officer and General Manager in the new model,” Masonya told the multitudes of Rollers supporters.

In addition, Masonya cautioned supporters against taking teams to court, advising that FIFA has its own courts within its structures.

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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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