Toronto have lost their opening two Premier League matches against rivals Gaborone United (GU) and BMC and is a pale shadow of the crack-side of the mid-1990s, which swept everything on offer under the guidance of Zimbabwean coach, Paul Moyo.
But Molebatsi is optimistic that Notwane will be counted among the best this season despite faltering in their first two matches. With a P600,000 sponsorship from Ba Hati Solutions, he believes Toronto can compete with other giants of local football.
With defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs brutally dominant in the past season, Notwane finished at the wrong end of the table and suffered the humiliation of battling relegation. Successive coaches at the former glamour club have failed to revive its fortunes but Molebatsi is convinced that the happy days will be back at Toronto. In a desperate bid, Notwane brought back Moyo last season but the move did not pay dividends though he started well by winning the Kabelano Cup.
However, that was the last happy moment for Toronto as indifferent league form saw them slump to the relegation zone and surviving the chop by a whisker. Moyo has been shown the door and the hunt for a coach is on with a Zambian tactician touted as a replacement.
The fortunes of Notwane largely hinge on the dazzling exploits of international Dirang Moloi, who unfortunately has been dogged by personal problems. Molebatsi believes their trump card will remain focused after committing his future to the club. "He has been doing well for us. In our game against Gaborone United, he was the captain and for him to land such a position of responsibility shows a positive mind," Molebatsi said.
He added that club officials frequently talk to the youngster to make him focused on his game. He said the club's biggest undoing has been its failure to buy good players as a result of financial constraints. "We stayed for a long time without a facelift. The previous committee had a desire to purchase players but there were financial constraints," Molebatsi said. He explained that the club has been reinforced with new signings and the technical team will be beefed up. Molebatsi said Toronto spent a substantial amount of money on new players who are expected to usher in a new era at the club.
He said despite the signings, they still need a left-back and defensive midfielder.
Molebatsi is confident that Notwane is ready to challenge for top honours with the likes of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Township Rollers, GU and Extension Gunners. "We are ready to compete. We have a good team that needs a coach who is suited to the style of the youngsters. Most of our players are Under-23 years and we doubted if our previous coach could handle their quality," Molebatsi said. He stated that they have identified two candidates for the coaching post and it is only a matter of time before they fill the position. Molebatsi said the club's support has been dwindling because of poor performance. "Supporters are attracted to the club if it is performing well. Centre Chiefs and Gunners have been drawing good crowds because they are doing well. If we do well, then supporters will come back," Molebatsi said. He slammed the confusion surrounding the Premier League sponsorship. "What if the Munhumutapa sponsorship deal fails? We should be clear as to what we are playing for. What will happen to the games we have already played? We should play under a mini-league format," he said. He doubts whether Munhumutapa will honour its promises, arguing that the sponsorship figure (approximately P60million) is too big. "There is nothing to convince me that Munhumutapa would fulfill their part of the deal. The product is not even worth what they are putting in," Molebatsi said.
He expressed fear that clubs will soon revolt as their expenses mount with no sponsorship for the league. "I have fear because I do not know what we are playing for. Clubs would soon revolt. Issues would start when big clubs travel for away matches and feel the pinch of the expenses. I can foresee an embarrassing situation," he predicted. Molebatsi said it is time for clubs to privatise so that they can attract sponsorship. He said under the present arrangement where most clubs are registered as societies, it is difficult for the corporate world and individuals to assist them.