Township Rollers are without doubt one of the most famous, if not most successful, clubs in Botswana football. ┬áNow after two successive league titles, a dark cloud is hovering over Mapalastina camp with some of the club’s supporters blaming the executive committee for the current situation. The big question is what could have turned things ugly at Mapalastina in a short time?
The situation has divided the once united Rollers’ family into two camps. Sunday Standard reporter TSHEPO MOLWANE reports.
Less than 10 years ago, managing director Somerset Gobuiwang was seen as a messiah who would take Mapalastina to the Promised Land. He seemed to be what the doctor had ordered for Rollers to bring more silverware. Rollers’ supporters filled the stadiums, with their side winning almost every cup on offer.
After winning the league title back to back at the end of 2010/2011 season, signs started showing that there are problems with Rollers camp. Some members of the committee stepped down, accusing Gobuiwang of running the club as a one man show. There were also reports of players’ disgruntlement and even misuse of funds.
Towards the end of August, it was reported that the club’s supporters had summoned the executive committee led by Gobuiwang to call an Annual General Meeting (AGM). It is reported that Gobuiwang ignored the calls, something which led to the supporters seeking help from the Registrar of Societies (under which Rollers fall).
Efforts to convene a meeting between the club’s leadership and supporters’ representatives by the Registrar of Societies bore no fruit as the Rollers’ leadership shunned the invitation.
Then there were reports that Rollers’ committee hinted that they could call an AGM as the club had registered as a company. As things stand, there is confusion in the Rollers’ camp, something which might end up affecting the performance of the team in the league. ┬á
On Monday evening, Rollers’ chairman Spencer Mmui was on national radio trying to defend the decision of not having called an AGM in the past five years. He even dismissed reports that the club is in chaos. Instead, he accused some of the club’s supporters for causing the current confusion.
Former Rollers’ vice-chairman, Dumi Mmualefhe, confessed to Sunday Standard on Friday morning that all is not well at the club hence he has stepped down. He accused Gobuiwang for the current turn of events.
“Things have been going wrong for a long time; it’s only that we’ve been in denial. We just protected the club from negative publicity. We’ve been pushing for AGM but time and again we were given excuses. The truth of the matter is that our finances are in a mess hence the executive can’t convene a meeting,” said Mmualefhe.
He added that he stepped down from his role as vice chairman because he cannot be party to a club which cannot comply with the conditions of a society. ┬áHe said Rollers have never had an executive committee meeting over the past five years unless there was a crisis.
“I was not prepared to continue serving under those conditions because I’m a man of principle. The team is micro-managed because even the chairman (Mmui) does not have a say in the running of the club,” he continued.
Mmualefhe pointed out that he is shocked by the sudden turn-around by Mmui because they have been sharing the same concerns.
He pleaded with Rollers’ supporters to come together with sober minds to map a way before their club goes down the drain.
“There is no denial that Somerset has played a big role to put the club where it is today but he needs to understand that the supporters also deserve to know what is happening with their club. The shorter we (Rollers’ family) deal with the crisis at the club the better. We should understand that we’ve employed the players and they deserve to play for a team which is not affected by negative things,” he concluded.
This afternoon, Rollers entertain BDF XI in a Be MOBILE Premier League game at SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane. Rollers have kicked off the campaign on a low note collecting two points from their fixtures against Prisons XI and ECCO City Greens. It will be interesting to see if they will manage to beat the army side in their own backyard.