BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers camp is haunted by an unsettling period due to its cost cutting measures affecting players’ wages.
Mass exodus of players is likely to hit the Gaborone giants as the club’s revenue streams trickle. This follows the club’s wage bill that is reported to be churning out loses in the club’s operation. Recently, Rollers failed to retain the services of their league top scorer Terence Mandaza and long serving Malawian international Lawrence Majawa due to the club’s proposed wage cut.
‘’Mandaza’s one-year deal with Rollers expired at the end of the season and the club’s efforts to sign another one year-term with the player failed due to the cost saving exercise. The player could not agree to terms with the new deal due to a hefty salary cut despite being the 2016/17 top goal scorer. He is not the only player affected as some will experience the same circumstance when their contracts end,” a source told Sunday Standard. Mandaza has since been linked to Mascom top 8 champions Jwaneng Galaxy.
Insiders have revealed that Rollers players’ wage bill last season went up to P4 million after big name signings in the likes of Keaketswe Moloi, Edwin Olerile, Ntesa Simanyana, Kabelo Dambe and Joel Mogorosi. It has emerged that the total cost of operating the club in the past season escalated to P8 million while the club accumulated around P6 million inclusive of club merchandise, sponsorships and gate takings which is not enough to bankroll the club.
‘’The club top brass is now feeling the pinch of players’ wage bill. The club’s forecast was to clinch all competitions on offer in the domestic league to boost their revenue but that was not the case as they lost in the semis of the top 8 cup.
Management has no choice but to slash wages when negotiating new contracts with players. The decision was made due to increasing debt that team president Jagdish Shah continues to pay on behalf of the club and very soon a mass exodus will be witnessed at the Gaborone West based club, a source revealed.
Moloi’s contract is yet to be renewed after scarcely playing in the past season while Mogorosi is alleged to have accepted a pay cut to be part of Rollers next season.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Rollers mouthpiece Bafana Pheto shied away from commenting on the matter. He, however, said football in the country has declined commercially. ‘’Our football status has declined, the product is not attracting stakeholders anymore and this has affected clubs badly. The ticketing process is a disaster and many clubs could not make money out of gate takings due to its complications that left many supporters opting to watch from the screens and in such cases teams revenue sources are highly affected,” a frustrated Pheto said.
Rollers manager Khumo Masonya said it was vital for any organisation to consider cost cutting as a key factor.
“We cannot discuss players’ salaries with the press and it should be known that we will do anything to cut costs. It should also be understood that our intention is to have a squad of an average age of 25 and most of the players released are in their 30s,” Masonya said.