Rollers conflict can throw football into turmoil

Out of every major conflict, there are always opportunistic elements waiting to pounce or to escalate such conflict for their benefit.

Such is the case with Premiership outfit, Township Rollers, which is at war with itself. Opportunistic elements are fuelling the rift between Jagdish Shah and Sommerset Gobuiwang who have been running the club as directors. Gobuiwang, a long-time majority shareholder of Township Holdings, is the one who invited Shah to come and help run the club.

The story of Shah joining Rollers is that he was first approached by TAFIC, but somehow some people advised him to team up with Rollers instead. That however is a discussion for another day but the million-dollar question is, what is it that Shah and Gobuiwang are fighting for?

From the look of things, some people are hiding behind the High Court judgement of Leatile Dambe that Rollers is still a society.

It is these people who are taking advantage of this convoluted judgement who are fuelling conflict.

Some see the judgement as a sharp sword that they can use to finish off Gobuiwang and endear themselves to Shah for his riches.

At face value this might look like a case between Shah and Gobuiwang but the two opposing camps need each other not only for the sake of Township Rollers, but for the good name of Botswana football.

If the High Court judgement and comments by some Township Rollers people are anything to go by, it would mean that Rollers are not properly registered with league or are not bona fide members of the Botswana Football Association (BFA). If it is true that the takeover of Rollers by Township Rollers Holdings was null and void and that everything associated with it is null and void, it equally means that the club has not complied with all the rules, regulations and probably the constitution of the BFA and the Societies Act.

Basically it would mean the club never existed except in artificial terms. This is how I see this conflict, which is driven by some with self-interests.

Well, Gobuiwang is not a saint but it would be amiss not to acknowledge his sterling role in making Rollers a force to reckon with. Rollers people are better advised to treat him with care lest all hell break loose.

He has been quiet as if he does not exist and I think it is time that the BFA ought to satisfy itself that all its affiliates have complied with the country’s laws as far as the Company’s and Societies Act are concerned. 

This Rollers conflict has the potential to throw Botswana football into turmoil. It is not an easy and straight forward matter as some people think. It is a complex challenge that needs sober minds and hearts.

As for Shah, I am disappointed that he has been all over the news media giving out what amounts to blackmail or setting out pre-conditions for negotiations.

Some of his utterances seem to suggest that he has been naïve or was just too excited to team up with Gobuiwang and Township Holdings without diligence.

The challenge at Rollers cannot be won by ‘brute power’ but needs dialogue with no pre-conditions.

It would also look like having a single investor or financier creates a problem of blackmail. There ought to be a clear-cut contract or memorandum of understanding.


beMOBILE Player of the Month

I am disappointed that the Premier League has decided to abdicate its responsibility and ceded its power to the ordinary fan to choose the player of the month. This is quite flawed and bizarre given that:

l The maturity level and technical know how of our supporters is not only limited but suspect as well.

l Not all games are televised hence supporters do not have the benefit of doubt.

l Sponsors should not dictate how to award people for technical things.

Unlike in other countries, the choice of player of the month is a big thing, hence there are processes in place to support that.

This is done by technical people because there are other things that may not be so obvious to ordinary fans.

For example, fans tend to like players who dribble more than those who break up moves and win tackles. We cannot as a league, delegate such an important aspect of the game to fans. The Premiership ought to remove the commercial part from things solely technical. I am disappointed that this has seen the light of day. We ought to take ourselves seriously.



Congratulations to the Zebras for winning its two games against Eritrea. The real competition now awaits the team. Mali are no pushovers. In fact, its record against the Zebras is so perfect such that a lot of psychological counselling would be needed.

The Zebras will have to be at their best, psychologically, physically and technically. The selection by Peter Butler will have to be spot on with no favours if we are to proceed.

Francistown, given the atmosphere that it usually exudes, would be the obvious venue for the game. I have no doubt the players feel more relaxed than anywhere else. Perhaps this would be the chance that we can put one over Mali.

Both the BFA and the Premier League ought to have a look at the fixtures and make an adjustment ahead of time.

Yes, we might have beaten Burkina Faso but unlike Mali, Burkina Faso has been on downward slide since the 2013 AFCON finals in South Africa. Hopefully, Mali will struggle as well and a win could give us more believe in the AFCON qualifying campaign. Belief, belief and self-confidence would be the key.

Editor's Comment
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