In recent years, the relationship between local soccer giants Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs has deteriorated.
This has been attributed to the egos of some big wigs at either club who do not want to work together. The transfer of players between the two clubs has often hit the headlines, ending before the players’ status committee. The bad blood between the two clubs has now led to leading marksman Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping’s transfer being put on hold.
Last week, Moatlhaping handed a transfer request from Chiefs to Rollers but was surprised to be told in no uncertain terms that his move would not materialise.
Though his request has already been handed to the Premier League office, it was later on Wednesday night reported that Moatlhaping had withdrawn, much to the surprise of the player himself.
After four years of turning out for Chiefs, Moatlhaping shocked the club and its fans when he accepted an offer from Rollers on Wednesday. Though he had not yet signed the two-year contract from Rollers at the time of going to press, the 2010-2011 Be MOBILE Premier League top scorer told Sunday Standard that he had made up his mind.
“Honestly, I’m done with Chiefs because what Rollers has offered me is very good. But the unfortunate part is that I find myself caught in between the bad blood between Rollers and Chiefs.
If I wanted to join say Gaborone United, I would not be in this situation. The bad thing is that people are not told the truth why I’ve opted out of Chiefs camp,” he said on Friday morning. ┬á
Moatlhaping said that though he had written a withdrawal letter after meeting with Chiefs’ officials, chairman Ernest Molome, spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi and Raymond Tsheko, he once again changed his mind. “I asked them to tear up the letter and we agreed. I was then driven home by one official and I was shocked when it was reported the letter had been delivered to the Premier League office. This goes to show you that Molome and his men are not trustworthy. I no longer want to work with such people,” he said.
Moatlhaping said that since arriving at Chiefs, he has been playing without a contract and that put his career in jeopardy. Countless efforts for a contract have been met with foul language from some officials. This did not stop the Moshupa-born striker from delivering week in and week out.
“It has been a frustrating period for me at Chiefs. It was more painful when I saw other players’ demands being met but not for me. There were few individuals within the management who appreciated my input,” he said. What pains Moatlhaping most is that his much publicised move to South African Premier League side Platinum Stars has hit a snag but nobody has come forward to give a proper explanation. This frustrated the Zebras’ international more especially that he was supposed to leave after their opening league game against Rollers early last month.
“When I joined Chiefs, I was supposed to join Jomo Cosmos (in the South African Premier League) but the move failed and I’ve never been told why, now the Stars’ move has failed again. There might be something I’m not being told because when I was there (Stars), the coach (Owen Da Gama) wanted to sign me. I’m talking about my future here and people expect me to relax,” he continued.
Despite the frustrations he suffered at the expense of the Chiefs’ management over the years, Moatlhaping said that he will always be grateful to the supporters of Magosi.
“They were unbelievable, they’re the ones who made me stay longer at Chiefs. I want to make it clear to them (supporters) that it was not my intention to leave. In fact, I wanted to retire there. Unfortunately, they don’t know what is happening behind the closed doors at Chiefs. They’re being told lies about me and it’s unfair,” he said.
When contacted for comment, Mogomotsi played his cards close to his chest, “I never discuss players’ welfare in the media. We have structures at Chiefs that players normally go through when they have grievances and I expected him to explore that. If the player wants to leave, we don’t have a problem with that. But we suspect that there are underhand tactics which led to his resignation.” Mogomotsi warned that if Rollers did not follow the procedure of recruiting the player, they will not get him but if they have followed it, he will join Rollers. ┬áHe said that his side has sacrificed a lot for Moatlhaping hence he is bitter to see him leaving.
“We took him (in 2007 from Rollers) when everyone had written him off, today he is the most wanted marksman. That is why I would not like to see him leaving because we value him so much. Obviously there is a body which is going to determine his future,” he added. ┬á
On the issue of the stalled move to South Africa, Mogomotsi said that they informed the player that they are still in negotiations with Stars and the move would materialise in January.
“Platinum Stars told us that they have budgetary constrains at the moment and would only revisit the move in the next transfer window and Jomo is aware of that,” he said.
Rollers’ secretary, Khumo Masonya, confirmed that they showed interest in Moatlhaping and followed the right procedures to get him. “We realised that he has been playing without a contract and wrote to Chiefs showing our interest in him. They gave us the go ahead to talk to him and we agreed.
Unfortunately on Wednesday night, we heard stories that he had withdrawn, something which he dismissed,” said Masonya. He pointed out that he has no doubts that the player belongs to Rollers.