League champions Township Rollers are yet to make a decision on whether they will participate in the African club championships, which they qualified for after winning the be-MOBILE Premier League.
Mapalastina said they are still consulting before making a final decision on whether to participate or not. Addressing members of the media recently, Rollers shareholder Jagdish Shah said playing in Africa is quite a challenge.
“Playing in Africa is a serious challenge and we are taking things one step at a time. We always hear those negative stories coming up and there are also financial implications. We need to sit down and consult before we can make a final decision,” he said.
Rollers used to be perennial participants in African competitions especially in the mid nineties. They even did well in some of their last matches. In 2006 they made history by beating Zambian side, Zesco United. Apart from Gaborone United and Rollers, local clubs have always shunned African club competitions citing high travel costs. On the other hand playing regularly in African competitions helps to improve the standard of senior national teams as is the case in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Shah poured accolades on Rollers players and the team’s committees for winning the championship in his first season at the club. He said it was not easy when the league started but things started falling into place as it progressed.
“We lost our first two matches and you can imagine our apprehension at that. But the players did not lose focus and managed to regroup until they won the league championship. We thank them for their good performance, especially our goalkeeper, Mwampule Masule, who did not concede a single goal in 19 of the 30 matches he played. It is a big achievement for him and for the club as a whole,” he said.
Shah explained that the team management always made sure that the players’ morale was always high by paying them on time. He also said there is no truth in rumors that certain players from Rollers might join some South African Premier League teams.
“Nothing has been communicated to us as yet but we would not stand in the way of any player if a firm offer comes by,” he said.
He also made it clear that Rollers will go shopping in the next transfer window because there are some departments that need to be beefed up. At one stage Rollers management was reportedly unhappy with coach Madinda Ndlovu, but Shah dismissed those rumors and insisted that they are happy with the coach and will keep him in the next season.