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Rollers’ CAF campaign gobbles P3m

MQONDISI DUBE
Rollers reached Championships League group stages for the first time PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Township Rollers’ best run in the CAF Champions League will yield at least P5.5 million in prize money, but fines and travelling expenses will eat into the windfall.

The club’s public relations officer, Bafana Pheto said the Champions League sojourn gobbled up more than P3million, while CAF fines will subtract a further P600,000 from the prize money.

Although Rollers are guaranteed a handsome profit from their history-making appearance in the group stages, the amount would have been much healthier had it not been for taxing travels to North Africa as well as two crippling fines imposed by CAF.

The expected cash cows, Esperance and Al Ahly, did not draw the anticipated crowds when they visited Gaborone.  Esperance’s crowd was probably the lowest, as only a handful of supporters bothered to turn up for the dead rubber on Tuesday, with Rollers elimination already confirmed.

Pheto said the club had spent P2.7 million with two rounds to play, and the Kampala trip later consumed more than P400,000.  The Uganda trip and hosting Esperance took Rollers’ spending to above P3 million.

“For away trips, we spent no less than P400,000. We didn’t benefit a lot from (hosting) Al Ahly and Esperance. While they are powerhouses in Africa, they are not as popular in this part of the continent, as compared to, for example, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates,” Pheto said.

“Reaching the group stages is profitable, but the issue of

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fines hit us. CAF deals directly with BFA and the next thing, we see a fine on our table.”

Rollers were fined twice, with the amount totalling P600,000 for a breach on television broadcast arrangement. The money will be deducted from the $550,000 (P5.5 million) prize money.

Pheto believes it could have been better if clubs were allowed to deal directly with CAF, and not through national associations.

But overall, Pheto said it has been an eyeopening campaign, and they have gained vital administrative experience, particularly regarding the registration of players.

He said the CAF assignments will not have an effect on the team as it launches another domestic title assault.

“We won’t be affected as we have signed a number of players during the off-season,” he said.

After 90 minutes of action, Rollers’ campaign folded at the National Stadium on Tuesday. The team scored six goals and conceded three in the first and second round matches. However, the team was abysmal in front of goal in the group stages, managing to find the net just twice, and conceding nine times in six games, which yielded four points and a wooden spoon.

But reaching the group stages was the ultimate aim for Botswana’s glamour club, with results largely inconsequential.



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