Over the past few weeks we have been reading and hearing about the feud within Township Rollers and how the mighty was crumbling from within. Township Rollers is the most decorated, most recognisable football brand in Botswana and arguably the most supported and most talked about football team in Botswana.
To some, it is more than a football team, but an institution. Some have even joked that we are all born as Township Rollers supporters, but we change allegiances along the way as we grow.
The recent much talked about court judgement threw a spanner in the works and all hell broke loose. At first no one was willing to give up an inch and others were already writing Township Rollers obituary. Rival team’s supporters were ululating. Who would blame them for celebrating the disintegration and strife in the arch enemy’s camp? Staunch football people on the other hand knew what a possible disintegration of Township Rollers would mean for Botswana football and did not wish for the worst.
Either way, there is a challenge and something had to be done urgently. I would not want to get much into the nitty-gritties of who did what and who didn’t do what, and who shouldn’t and shouldn’t have done what. All that I wanted and am happy happened is that the two factions sat around a table and talked. That is a great stride towards resolving them impasse.
I must commend the warring factions for coming to the party and allowing for mediation. That shows that they are open to a resolution and ultimately working together. It shows that they can atleast listen to each other and exchange views. We cannot all agree every time, but we need to listen to each other and see what we can do with regards where we don’t agree. For the most part, the two parties agree on a lot of issues and it’s only on a few issues where they don’t agree. For instance they agree that the team needs JagDish Shah, and maybe don’t agree on how they would want to rope him in. They agree that some things may not have been done right in the past, but don’t necessarily agree on how that should be corrected. So there is something to work on going forward for them to reach a common ground, as it seems they have more that they agree on than what they don’t agree on.
While all the hullabaloo was going on, I sat back, knowing all will be resolved sooner rather than later. Well, my confidence was based on that I know most of the individuals involved in the impasse and I know how much they love Township Rollers. I knew that they wouldn’t want Township Rollers to be a laughing stock and subject of ridicule for a long time. I knew that they know that Township Rollers is way bigger than anyone of them as individuals and they would come to a compromise.
At any particular time when there is a conflict, a mediator is needed to help seek common ground among the warring sides. This is crucial and it is important that the ‘mediator’ is the right kind of person and is accepted by both parties. And in the case of Township Rollers, they got a willing and sober minded mediator in BFA President Tebogo Sebego. We all know, and it is no secret that Tebogo Sebego is Notwane at heart. However, his selflessness and willingness to have peace in a rival team’s camp is immense and shows someone who has the interest of football in Botswana at heart.
It is welcome that egos and self-importance have been put aside and progress made towards resolving the impasse. Turmoil within our football teams should be avoided at all costs as they chase away potential financiers and sponsors.