Township Rollers’ plan to turn professional is on a roll and the team is expected to earn a roll off deals with three new sponsors. While information is still sketchy, sources have revealed that the team has managed to bring reputable banking institution, Stanbic Bank as its new main sponsor. The bank is a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, a bank synonymous with sponsoring South African football giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. The other two new sponsors joining the Rollers family are said to be Builders Mart and JB Sports. The three new sponsors add to a clutch of sponsors, among them Cresta Hotels, Umbro and Liberty Life, which the club has managed to maintain from the previous seasons.
The acquisition of the new sponsors is said to come as a huge relief for the team, which has mostly relied on its millionaire financier Jagdish Shah for survival. With the arrival of the new sponsors, ‘Popa,’ as Rollers is affectionately known, is said to have gone a step further, acquiring a new team bus. Though the acquisition of the new sponsors is a not a well kept secret, the team’s hierarchy is keeping mum and is refusing to divulge details or even confirm. “At this moment, all we can say is that we are still negotiating with potential sponsors. As you are aware, we have been relying on one individual to pay our players and we believe we need sponsors to relieve him of the burden,” Rollers’ Public Relations Officer (PRO) Bafana Pheto explained.
However, when asked if there are any new sponsors coming onboard at Rollers, Pheto said all will be revealed at the right time. Despite the refusal to acknowledge the arrival of new sponsors, the Rollers PRO however confirmed that the team hierarchy was ready to launch the sponsorships this coming weekend. “The launch has been halted as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of our main sponsor is not available this weekend. Our plan is to launch our sponsors very soon and we intend to do it on a weekend to afford our supporters from all over the country a chance to come for the launch,” Pheto explained.
The delay in the launch is said to have also halted the sale of the team’s merchandise. Pheto explained that the halt of the team’s replica jerseys is meant to ensure the team’s new sponsors are embroidered in the replicas. Meanwhile, as a first in the country, Rollers have announced the introduction of electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) at their training sessions. The new technology is expected to help ‘players monitor, track, analyze and optimize their performances after the games, assisting them with guidance on the technical areas they need to improve on.
The usage of the system by Rollers has already been approved by the Botswana Premier League (BPL). It is said the team will use the FieldWiz and Zephyr technology, which is a performance and strategy measuring system based on GPS tracking. The system is currently used by professional clubs in Europe.