Township Rollers is preparing for life after chief financier, Jagdish Shah.
The long-time team financier is expected to quit the team at the end of this month. According to sources, internal process of handing over the team operations to the society are ongoing.
Shah’s imminent departure has left many wondering if this will be the fall of Popa. For a long time, the team has relied on Shah for sustenance. Without Shah’s wealth fueling Popa’s blue train, many are predicting it will come to a grinding halt.
As he leaves, he will take everything the team has previously used. He will take back staff vehicles and the team bus. He will stop paying for the team to use Royal Aria as a training ground. The team will now pay membership if it seeks to continue using Jack’s Gym. Above all, the team is expected to vacate the premises it used as offices at Setlhoa Park.
Of greater concern, questions abound as to whether players and staff on contract will be paid after Shah departs this month. After years of not worrying about these, this will be a familiar, yet new territory for Rollers. It has left even the most optimistic of supporters fearing for the team.
These fears have however been allayed by Bafana Pheto. The Rollers’ interim committee chairman says ‘great things are coming for the team.’
“We are in cordial handing over with Shah. He recently talked to the players and motivated them to continue to work hard and deliver in all competitions the team is left with because his tenure with Rollers is coming to an end,” explains Pheto.
The Rollers’ interim chairperson says while Shah departs, there should be nothing to fret about. He says the team will honour all contractual obligations with players and support staff.
“We are going to do all we can to honour and pay salaries like we have done in the past. We don’t want players to lose focus because we currently stand a better chance to win the Orange FA Cup. We also want to finish the league in a respectable position,” he says.
Pheto believes the team is ready to honour its contractual obligations even in the event negotiations with the potential financiers or partners are prolonged. He says they will be able “to pay players at least for the next 4 to six months after the departure of Shah.”
The vocal Pheto also reveals that they intend to sit down with players at the end of the season to review contracts. This he says is necessary to avoid anything that might make players unhappy.
On where the team offices will relocate to, he says they are in negotiations with property owners so that they move the office because their last day is the 31st of May at Setlhoa.
He is optimistic the team will find a new financier to replace the departing Shah. The name of the potential financier has however been kept a secret as negotiations continue.
“We are in negotiations with partners and we are both doing due diligence so that we are all certain of arrangement we will be getting into,” Pheto says.
Shah shocked Rollers fraternity when he unexpectedly informed them of his intentions in March after he felt that his appointed Chief Executive Officer is not receiving support from the society which hindered his work to deliver on his mandate.
The resignation of Shah comes after he was alleged to want to take full control of the team without the input of society. This led to a meeting in which supporters’ chairpersons were against this and ended up exchanging words.
Efforts by the Rollers committee to plead with him to rescind his decision failed to come to fruition. In the meeting with supporters’ chairpersons, he told them that they will have to find ways to start taking care of all team’s expenses.
Among his many reasons for quitting Rollers, Shah is said to have felt that he is not appreciated despite his contribution to the team. He is also alleged to have informed the supporters’ leaders that he is struggling with cash flow as the league does not have monthly grants or prize monies, forcing him to dig deep into his pockets.
Shah’s departure marks an end of an era. In his decade long association with Popa, the team won five league championships. It also reached the group stages of the CAF champions league.