Newly appointed Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chairman and Township Rollers President Jagdish Shah has warned that he might be lost to Township Rollers if the state of football in the country does not improve. According to Shah, the time has now come for clubs to diversify into business as this will help generate money to suit demands of modern day players.
Speaking in an interview, Shah said modern day players’ demands have evolved and this calls for a shift from society run clubs to business oriented management of clubs. Shah said while investors have shown willingness to invest in local football, the current environment in local football is not appealing to potential investors.
“Investors are willing to assist in the game but the challenge is the style of leadership in which most clubs are trapped in the society model of running football clubs,” Shah explained. He said it is critical that investors inject money on projects that have positive return on investment.
“I cannot continue injecting money on a club without any positive changes. I need to understand as an investor the business aspect or else the injections will cease at some point. Who knows, there have been mass exodus of investors in the game and if I don’t see any changes I might be gone at some point,” Shah told Sunday Standard.
The Rollers president pointed out that the likes of construction magnates Nicholas Zackhem and Sayed Jamali could have elevated the standard of football in the country but were forced out by the politics surrounding society leadership of clubs, an issue which continues to divide domestic clubs.
“The likes of Zackhem, Jamali and Daroush Ghodrati were pivotal figures in local football and cushioned the financial predicaments our clubs face but they have since lost interest and parted ways with their clubs. This is a disheartening situation that needs to be addressed,” Shah opined.
“We have to holistically act together as the BPL and clubs to find a solution to the matter and build a reputable brand for domestic football. It should not be about Rollers or any other one team elevating to a professional level but about most if not all of the clubs competing in the elite league,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shah revealed that Botswana Football Association (BFA) is set to reap the fruits of Township Rollers triumphant march to the CAF Champions’ league group stages. According to CAF rules, football federations of clubs competing in the group stages are entitled to a certain fee. The BFA is expected to benefit 10 percent of Rollers prize in the club continental competition.
“My understanding is that the association will benefit a certain fee from Rollers coffers after CAF credit group stages money,” said Shah.
It is said that the money will increase depending on Rollers performance in the tournament.