Mmegi Online :: A fatal choice Rollers can ill afford
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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A fatal choice Rollers can ill afford

All points to a rough, no-holds-barred gathering in Gaborone West tomorrow as the three-year-old Township Rollers feud continues to plumb the depths, with the lowest point reached in Molepolole last Saturday. Staff Writer MQONDISI DUBE argues that out of a plethora of available options, there is one fatal detour which the club should avoid
By Mqondisi Dube Fri 29 Jan 2016, 14:43 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: A fatal choice Rollers can ill afford








Once upon a time, there was a thriving economy, with a robust agriculture sector as its bedrock. Pressed by a growing need to re-distribute the land out of pre-independence promises, there was a haphazard agrarian programme just to satisfy the masses. The outcome was disastrous, actually devastating and a once prosperous nation slumped into economic oblivion, fast moving from a breadbasket to a basket case.

Roll closer as Township Rollers multitudes temporarily move to the Gaborone West hall for a few, potentially life-changing hours as they chase an increasingly elusive solution to a three-year feud.

When then Township Rollers managing director, Sommerset Gobuiwang invited businessman, Jagdish Shah as a partner, a new Popa dawn was signalled for the club three seasons ago.

The club was quickly recognised as a trendsetter in the pay market. A company, Township Holdings was formed to run the affairs of the Township Rollers with Shah and Gobuiwang as co-directors. A new bar was set with players reportedly paid up to P30,000 per month, breaking new ground for a league largely viewed as holding potential, but failing to find its wings. However, a crippling fallout was to follow although reasons for the breakdown in relations remain a public mystery.

 In media interviews, Shah said Gobuiwang all of a sudden became withdrawn despite efforts to engage his counterpart.

“He would keep quiet during our meetings, but start complaining when he is out there,” Shah once told Mmegi Sport in a previous interview.

Gobuiwang has preferred to remain mum, but in a radio interview, said he hopes peace prevails when the club holds its meeting tomorrow.

The sharp differences between Shah and Gobuiwang have seen tensions rise among fans as factions aligned to both administrators emerged.

The ugly scenes in Molepolole last Saturday were a culmination of simmering tensions. The fans are growing impatient over a wrangle that refuses to go away.

The raw emotions on display at the Molepolole Sports Complex, after a morale draining 2-1 defeat to BR Highlanders, bore testimony of a family growing restive. It is no longer business as usual at Mma Masire. Rollers’ unbeaten run has been surrendered, but woefully, the ownership tussle remains unresolved.

As fans walk through the doors of Gaborone West hall tomorrow, a number of options have been proposed to ensure Shah and Township Holdings do not violate a court ruling. The High Court ruled that Township Holdings cannot run the affairs of the club, after a group aligned

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to former chairperson, Spencer Mmui challenged the arrangement in court.

Successive meetings have been held in order to ensure compliance with the court ruling. But the Mmui camp argues this has not been adhered to and threatened to take Shah to court saying he had disregarded the ruling. 

Papers were expected to be filed this week. Rollers has over the months and through its interim committee, attempted to find ways to incorporate Shah into the system without violating the court’s ruling. Shah is vital to Rollers’ financial survival at the moment, and some fans cannot fathom Popa life without him. But it’s a dawning possibility that Shah might leave Rollers if the majority prevail tomorrow.

He has said if fans want him out, he is prepared to clip his wallet and leave. It has become increasingly apparent that Shah and Gobuiwang would never work together, so a solution has to be found in between. But in the midst of all available options, Rollers cannot afford to reverse visible gains and plunge back into financial mediocrity.

 The bane eating away the very existence of most Premiership clubs has been finance.

Rollers would be wary of harrowing tales of clubs failing to shell players’ dues while some are tittering on the brink of collapse due to lack of finance.  Popa had emerged as an endearing example of plenty in the middle of scarcity.  But now, Rollers face a tough examination tomorrow.  It would not define the end of Rollers, but certainly leave an indelible mark in the history of the club.

Rollers co-chairperson, Walter Kgabung has said finding peace is not an event but a process.

This week, he expressed optimism that the club is on the right path. “It is not an event, but a process. The prospects of finding peace are very high.

Everybody will have an opportunity (at the AGM).  An all inclusive constitution will be adopted and it will satisfy all Rollers fans,” Kgabung said.

 By tomorrow evening the verdict would be out whether the country’s biggest soccer institution carry enough gravitas to resolve its matters.

The club faces the ‘land re-distribution’ headache.  The debate is no longer about the re-distribution of the Rollers’ ‘land’, but it is a process that would shape the club’s future.

The club can ill afford the haphazard option merely to satisfy certain requirements.

Merely focusing on fulfilling certain requirements without consideration for the future might ultimately prove to be a fatal choice.

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