Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rollers promise fireworks next season

Supporters of largely followed teams normally want nothing but success.
If a team can go for about two or more seasons it means unhappiness from supporters whose attendance at games might start to dwindle. For the past few years, supporters of Lobatse-based side, Extension Gunners, and Township Rollers have also not been attending games in desired numbers. The reason being that Gunners have not won a major trophy for the past 15 years, while Rollers is entering its fifth barren season.

The last time Gunners won the league championship was in 1994 and since then it has been on a downward spiral. For thirteen seasons, the team was always in relegation battles and normally avoided it at the last hurdle.

The past two seasons were better because they finished in the top eight. The team had great intentions last season to the extent of signing two Burundian players who looked set to revive the team’s fortunes. But internal problems resulted in the players missing some of the games and they have since been put on a transfer by the team citing financial challenges.

Supporters are now wondering why the players are easily let go instead of the team breaking its bank balance. This could also signal that Gunners might not win anything to write home about this coming season.

Regardless of whom the team signs, the issue of money still looks to be a major problem.

The last time Rollers won a major tournament was in 2005 when they made it a double. They won both the league championship and the Coca-Cola Cup.
Bearing in mind that the team was just from the First Division, it was all ululations in the team’s camp and the stadiums were always full to the brim. Little did the supporters of the team know that more challenging times lay ahead.

Several reasons could be attributed to the team’s trophyless seasons. Several of their key players made it to the highest paid professional ranks in South Africa, thus creating a void and the team found it difficult to replace them.

So far, Rollers credit itself for being the team that sends most of their players to professional ranks in South Africa. Players like Mogogi Gabonamong, Phenyo Mongala, Boitumelo Mafoko and coach David Bright went to South Africa via Rollers. Even Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping, who is now at Centre Chiefs, went to South Africa from Rollers but only lasted for a season.

With the money they have just acquired through the sale of Mongala and Mafoko, Rollers have promised to buy quality material so that they fiercely compete for top honours in the country. The Managing Director of the team, Somerset Gobuiwang, made it clear that they will be seriously going onto the market to acquire quality players.

Rumours are also already doing rounds that their main target is current talk of the town player, Mogakolodi “Tsotso’ Ngele of Uniao Flamengo Santos.

Ngele is definitely a rising star destined for success provided he maintains his cool. Bearing in mind that Rollers is a popular brand in South Africa, most youngsters are also reportedly aspiring to play for them to enhance their chances of going outside the country.

On the other hand, Rollers used to import quality foreign players but nowadays they seem only to be acquiring average ones.

Joseph Chikoti from Zambia was one of those lethal players the team had when they were the dominant force in the early and mid nineties.

Rollers have never had a distinctive foreigner for years now. When the team won a double in 2005, they were only using home grown talent.


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