The simmering tensions between the Township Rollers support base reared its ugly head this past Saturday morning during the team’s Special General Meeting (SGM) held at Marang Junior Secondary School. The well attended meeting had been called for by the mediator in the Rollers crisis, Botswana Football Association (BFA) President Tebogo Sebego, to present the team’s interim committee and for it to be endorsed by the general membership.
Presenting the committee before the Rollers family in order for them to be endorsed, the BFA President explained that the committee had been agreed upon as a measure to calm waters at the troubled football giants, pave way for potential investors and to prepare for next year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the general membership will vote in a new Executive Committee. In his address to the Rollers supporters, the BFA President pleaded with them to accept and endorse the interim committee in order to take the team forward. He said while the challenges facing Rollers are well known, differing opinions and views should be tolerated, adding that even families have their own differences.
Sebego informed Rollers supporters that the interim committee, which is made up of the team’s warring factions would be lead by an interim President, Dickson Gabanakgosi, whose main responsibility will be to guide the interim committee. The BFA President said as a Township Rollers elder and being neutral, Gabanakgosi will be able to lead the interim committee’s two warring factions. He then appealed on the Rollers supporters to hold back on their discussions and avoid any war of words that could be detrimental to overall progress. However, not long had Sebego sat down after making his plea when the simmering tensions came to the fore with some supporters pointing fingers at the executive committee members.
First to comment was Bashi Molatlhegi who accused the team’s executive committee of fuelling factions and using supporters for their own benefit. Molatlhegi then questioned Sebego on why he brought Spencer Mmui as a co-chairperson of the interim committee, alleging that Mmui had left the Premier League under a cloud after being accused of funds misappropriation. Another supporter, Gofamodimo Baitirile called on Sebego to ask the executive committee members why they are so keen on being in the executive if there was no monetary gain. “Ke kopa o re boletse borre ba gore naare golo mo Rollers, ka re itse football ya Botswana e sena madi, ga o tsena mo go yone o itse gore o a senyegelwa, go jewa eng fa ere re kopa gore ba tswe re tsenye ba babngwe abo e nna ntwa,” Baitirile queried.
Some flak also came the way of both Jagdish Shah and Somerset Gobuiwang as their supporters squared up. Another supporter, a certain JP Moremi, accused the committee of intentionally hiking the players’ salaries as a way of chasing long term investors like Gobuiwang on the pretext that they cannot pay the salaries. Another supporter, however questioned Gobuiwang’s integrity, asking why he brought in Shah, only for him to turn against him. He made it known that they are not prepared to lose Jagdish Shah, whom they said had taken Rollers to the new highs, a comment which was welcomed by many supporters. Responding to the members, Sebego once again pleaded with them to refrain from pointing fingers and to keep calm and discuss issues amicably.
He once again reiterated that the sole purpose of choosing an interim committee with two co-chairpersons was to put Rollers back on track and steer the team towards better solutions from the current crisis. The war of words between the supporters was also enough for the team’s founding member, Allen Compton, who expressed disappointment at Rollers members, more especially the younger ones for their rashness with words. Having been part of the mediatory talks that led to the selection of the current interim committee, Compton urged members to respect all its members. He chastised some Rollers supporters for attacking Gobuiwang whom he said had contributed a lot to the team.
Despite the apparent tensions, the Rollers supporters endorsed the interim committee and gave it a mandate to have interim relations with potential investors. The supporters also agreed with the date set for the club’s next AGM, which is proposed to take place at the end of January next year.