Sunday, May 16, 2021

Ndlovu’s departure was a time bomb waiting to explode

When he was appointed to steer Rollers’ ship at the beginning of the 2013/14 Premier League season, Ndlovu was tasked with a simple but yet thorny task of taking the club to the Promised Land. His task given by the former boss Sormerset Goubiwang was simple – “win us trophies in your two year stay.” There was no doubt that the arrogant former Highlanders star could deliver as he has proven his mettle at Mochudi Centre Chiefs by winning the League back-to-back before he joined Mapalastina. Chiefs’ loss was seen as Rollers’ gain.

In the maiden season, Ndlovu delivered the League championship though some would say Rollers were lucky to win it after BDF XI were controversially docked six points at a critical stage of the season. He went on to lose the Mascom Top 8 final to BDF XI the same season.

When this season kicked off, there was serious “corridor talk” that the Zimbabwean coach is not going to last at the club as he was no longer in good terms with Gobuiwang – the man who poached him from Chiefs. There were allegations of clash of egos to an extent that Ndlovu was no longer “worshipping” his boss. The reason was attributed to the fact that Gobuiwang was no longer in full control of the club following the arrival of Indian business tycoon Jagdish Shah. In fact in many cases, Shah is the one who has protected Ndlovu from being kicked out of the club. “There is no point of firing such an intelligent coach who has won the League thrice in a row,” Shah told this publication in one of the interviews last year.

Following Shah’s statement, some supporters felt that Ndlovu had become stubborn and thought he was bigger than the club. Since Rollers lost their first match of the season against Police XI on January 16 in Molepolole, all has never been good at the club. As expected, it was Ndlovu who was abused by some section of Rollers’ fans on social networks. According to close sources, Ndlovu has always known that sooner or later he will no longer be with the club. What made matters worse was that Rollers took a lot of time before they could offer him a new contract yet they knew that the current one was running out at the end of May.

“Jagdish has done his part to protect him and when the fans threw missiles at him after the final, he knew that his fate had been decided. There was no longer a guarantee about his safety and there were lots of internal issues, so he had no choice but to resign,” said a source.

In an interview with this publication, Shah said, “I was out of the country and we were supposed to come and discuss his situation but by Monday night it was already all over the news. So I was left with no option but to let him go. He was already on slippery ground. I want to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Radio Botswana sports presenter Tiroyaone Lepotokisi said that Ndlovu’s resignation did not come as a surprise as he failed to deliver in the two seasons he has been at the club. “If it was not because BDF XI were docked points, Rollers could have finished last season without a silverware. I have a feeling that he lost the control of the dressing because the team hasn’t been performing. Even the body language of the players could tell,” said Lepotokisi. He added that Ndlovu stabbed himself on the back because of the signings he made in January. According to Lepotokisi, the four signings were not necessary because the team was performing well then, having gone 43 games without a defeat.

Football analyst Duncan Kgangkenna concurred that Ndlovu failed to deliver the targets set by the club. “As the defending champions this season, Rollers have not been convincing. I expected them to stamp their authority but right now they’re out of the race. The other thing which let Madinda down is that he was brought to Rollers by Somerset but they’ve not been in good terms. That alone made Somerset feel offended,” said Kgangkenna.

Former Rollers’ marksman Mmoni Segopolo is of a different opinion. He feels that the club did a mistake by letting the Zimbabwean gaffer go. “The statistics are there, we cannot claim that Madinda has failed the club. Sometimes I think we tend to let negative things cloud our judgments hence Madinda resigned. There was a lot of pressure from the outside,” he said.

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