Township Rollers are renowned to be one of the few local teams that import excellent international players.
One of such players is the late Joseph Chikoti who is still well remembered in this country. He made a name for himself that he ended up securing himself a contract at South African Premier League side, Wits University, way back in 1996.
Rollers are hoping to bring players of Chikoti’s caliber if what the management says is anything to go by.
Rollers management is hopeful that the three foreign nationals they are about to sign will help the team to fiercely contest for both the lucrative be-mobile Premier League and the Coca-Cola Cup.
The three players are a Malawian and two Zimbabweans. The Malawian is Lawrence Majawa (midfielder) while the two Zimbabweans are Johannes Ngodzo (midfielder) and Gilbert Zulu who is a striker.
Zulu and Majawa were playing for Malawian sides, Telecomms and Big Bullets while Ngodzo was playing for Highlanders in Bulawayo.
Rollers coach Rahman Gumbo has brought the two players and the team is hopeful to sign them before the end of the week. Managing Director of Rollers, Somereset Gobuiwang, told Sunday Standard that if all goes well, they would be signed before the end of the week. He said one of the players is a free agent while the rest are still negotiating with their respective teams.
“Of the three players, Majawa is a free agent but we are hopeful everything goes well and we sign them,” he said.
Gobuiwang said the intention is to strengthen the team so that the coach is spoilt for choice. He also would not want to say which foreign players are going to be offloaded because if the three are signed it would mean the team has seven foreigners but are only eligible to register five. It would also mean two foreigners would have to be sacrificed. The current four are Mohammed Chawilla, Bernard Simakwenzi, Terrence Mandaza and Timothy Phiri.
Word is, however, rife among Rollers the faithful that Simakwenzi and Phiri are the ones likely to be shown the door. Sunday Standard had the opportunity of watching the players at training and they were impressive.
Since winning both the league and Coca Cola Cup four seasons ago, Rollers are yet to clinch a major tournament. They have been trying but to little avail. This season, however, it would not be easy as teams like Gaborone United, Mochudi Center Chiefs and BDF XI are riding on the crest of a wave.
Nevertheless, the last time Rollers won it no body expected it as they sneaked in the last three games to win the coveted trophy. They had not won anything for ten years prior to that.
At that time, local players dominated the Rollers team, with many young players and few veteran faces. The main undoing for the team in the past few years is that most players were young and inexperienced and could not stand the pressure when the going got tougher.