Since Township Rollers' 2005 Coca-Cola Cup and League double, no other side has managed to achieve the feat. It has been almost 13 seasons of trying, with no club bagging more than one trophy per season, writes MQONDISI DUBE
In 2005, a reinvigorated Township Rollers emerged from the dusty First Division grounds, to grab a rare double under the late Banks Panene.
Rollers, were forced to go down, after a horrendous campaign in the 2003-2004 season, losing 2-1 to Nico United in the final match of the season to confirm their departure from the Premier League.
It was a dark period for a club with a decorated history.
However, they returned the following season with renewed vigour and with two competitions on offer; the Coca-Cola Cup and the St Louis League, they swept both.
It was a team dripping with the talents of Phenyo 'Mzambia’ Mongala, Tshepo 'Schoolboy' Molefhe and Tshepiso 'Sox' Molwantwa. It was one of the best assembled teams, but arguably not the best in the last two decades.
There has been the Mochudi Centre Chiefs side who won the league unbeaten in 2008, while Gaborone United of 2009 was equally special.
ECCO City Greens, the first team from the north to win the league in 2007, had great talents, while the Township Rollers of Terrence Mandaza and the Chiefs of Pontsho and Dirang Moloi were right up there.
But the double eluded all these sides. At the end the season, it will be 13years to the day since a club last won a double. Why has it been so?
Botswana Gazette sports editor, Bongani Malunga argues it has to do with squad depth and management.
“I think local clubs have not mastered the art of squad management. Winning multiple trophies (in one season) requires great squad depth. Our teams usually invest in strong line ups without strengthening their bench. Cup games are a one-off, this is where bench players can excel when trying to earn a starting berth in the league line up,” he said.
Malunga believes that if more clubs learn squad management, they
“Fatigue and injuries creep in when the players are not managed well,” he added.
Zebras coach, David Bright, whose side Mogoditshane Fighters was so indomitable at the turn of the century, said a good pool of players is key to winning more than one trophy per season.
“The last time I won a double, we had a good pool of players, quality players as well as good support from the BDF.
It was more of a professional set-up. If you look at Rollers now, they have good players. It's about quality. They have a professional set-up. Most teams are struggling. One might argue about the mine teams (Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy), they suffer due to consistent change of coaches. They have quality but have been unstable on the technical team. Consistency is key,” Bright said.
He acknowledged that it was not easy to win a double but with the right material and depth, it was possible.
“At Fighters, I had 30 quality players,” he said of a team that had the talents of diminutive left back, Mompati Banda, Modesto Chilundumeni, Barney Marman and Masego Nchingane amongst others.
Rollers is however, on course to break the jinx, as they lead the BTC Premiership, two points ahead of rivals, Galaxy with as many matches remaining. Popa has already won the Mascom Top 8.
League winners since 2004
2004–05: Township Rollers
2005–06: Police XI
2006–07: ECCO City Greens
2007–08: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2008–09: Gaborone United
2009–10: Township Rollers
2010–11: Township Rollers
2011–12: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2012–13: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2013–14: Township Rollers
2014–15: Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2015–16: Township Rollers
2016–17: Township Rollers
Cup winners since 2004
2005 Township Rollers
2007 Botswana Meat Commission
2008 Mochudi Centre Chiefs
2009 Uniao Flamingo Santos
2010 Township Rollers
2011 Extension Gunners
2012 Gaborone United
2011/12: Township Rollers (Mascom Top 8)
2012/13: Gaborone United
2013/14: Botswana Defence Force
2014/15: Gaborone United
2015/16: Orapa United
2016/17: Jwaneng Galaxy
2017/18: Township Rollers