Notwane Sporting Club is expected to face an uphill battle to keep its players. With the team now looking even more destined to play in the Debswana First Division South league next season, a general feeling is that the team will need most of its current crop of talent if it is to bounce back into the Premiere League. However, given the team’s struggles to keep most of its talented players, even when in the Premier League, there is a growing fear that the team will hemorrhage most of its players if it goes down, something which would make their life in the lower division even more difficult.
Among players seen as more likely to remain in the Premier League when the team goes to the lower division are the likes of Lemogang ‘Ntoche’ Maswena, Odirile ‘Deco’ Kgaodi, Emmanuel ‘Mani’ Masisi, Lewis Sekwainyana, Zebron Nbjovu, Langa Mabuli as well as Gogontle Marumo and Sthembiso ‘Terry’ Mbuqe. With the transfer window now open and teams expecting to beef up their squads ahead of the new season, rumours are already doing rounds that teams are jostling for some of the ‘Toronto’ players, with Maswena expected to be the first player out. While Notwane has always managed to keep him off the clutches of its rivals, it has always been an open secret that the player is courted by the local giants, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers and the two teams are expected to go head to head for his signature.
Commenting on the matter, local football analyst and football agent, Monty Gagomokgwa opined that it will take a Herculian effort for Notwane to keep its players. “I do not believe that Notwane can keep most of its players if it is going to the first division. If they have always found it hard to keep players while in the Premier League, how will they afford to do it while relegated?” Gagomokgwa commented. He said given the talent on display at Notwane, it is likely that Premier League clubs are already lining up some acquisitions from the team. The same sentiments were shared by local sports journalist, Duncan Kgangkenna, who opined that it will take a lot of effort from the Notwane management to keep most of the players. “It will be up to the Notwane management to persuade the players to stay with the team but this will take quite a lot of effort. If you look at Notwane, its core is made of talented young players, most of whom would love to continue competing in the league. Only those who are very loyal to the team will likely remain and go down with the team,” the local scribe said. He, however, said given the Notwane management’s well documented struggles to keep up with players’ demands, it is highly unlikely that they would convince most of their players to stay with the team.
Kgangkenna however said should the Notwane management manage to keep the core of their players, they will stand a better chance of quickly bouncing back into the elite league. Meanwhile, Notwane FC’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Podi Mooki, says it is the team management’s ‘wish’ to keep their players. While he was ‘not ready to divulge their plans’ to do as such, the team PRO was hopeful most of these issues would have been discussed when the team management held a meeting with players yesterday (Saturday). With the reality of losing players now very much alive, the Notwane PRO however refused to entertain any such thought, saying ‘he would not preempt anything.’ “We will cross that bridge when we get there,” Mooki said.