Friday, October 23, 2020

Seisa bears the brunt as Rollers’ tension boils over

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…a stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things,” so wrote American author Henry David Thoreau in his discourse Walden and Civil Disobedience. 

For Township Rollers’ long suffering supporters, their quiet desperation finally got the best of them. The ‘desperation’ could not be quelled any longer as their team succumbed to its first league defeat against minnows BR Highlanders this past Saturday at the Molepolole Sports Complex. 

What started as a ripple, one irate supporter venting his anger at Mookodi Seisa, turned into a tidal wave of disobedience that threatened to spill into a physical fight. While the undercurrents of a likely unrest could be seen earlier in the game, things fell apart on the 80th minute when Moamogedi Thatogo netted what would ultimately be BR Highlanders’ winning goal. With an imminent first loss coming, one irate supporter started throwing jabs at Seisa, a well known member of the anti Jagdish Shah Camp, who was seated in the VIP box.

 “Seisa, o itumetse akere, o winne,” (“Seisa, are you happy, you have won,”) the despairing supporter repeated time and again.

By the time the final whistle blew and the unheralded BR Highlanders had claimed all the points, the ripple was already a tidal wave. With the well publicized infighting between Rollers’ factions now taking their toll, Rollers’ first Premiership loss coupled with the team’s surrender of log leadership to Orapa United proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Needing to vent their long pent anger, the fans had already set their sights on Seisa and an irate mob quickly headed to where he was seated. The angry mob bayed for Seisa and demanded that he be handed to them, but was stopped by Rollers’ officials, the Security Guards and the policemen and women on duty. While the Security personnel and the Police guarded over Seisa, Rollers’ Public Relations Officer (PRO) Bafana Pheto and the club’s interim President, Dickson Gabanakgosi, called for calm among Rollers supporters. 

Despite their pleas, the mob refused to budge and Seisa was barricaded for more than an hour. In the melee that ensued, the Police arrested one rowdy supporter. But the mob surrounded their car when they tried to whisk him away. The diversion worked wonders as the security personnel were then able to sneak Seisa out through the dressing room tunnels.

While Rollers’ PRO insists the supporters were not necessarily incensed by their team’s loss, he acknowledged that losing to BR Highlanders was a catalyst in the events that unfolded. “What had incensed the supporters were the utterances he (Seisa) had made on radio earlier on Saturday morning,” the Rollers PRO explained. Meanwhile, Pheto appealed to Rollers’ supporters to keep calm ahead of the club’s much anticipated elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is billed for Gaborone West Community Hall this coming weekend. However, with the visible tensions and the events of this past weekend in mind, the Rollers PRO said they have put in place security measures to avert any unsavory incidents. 

“We had a meeting with Gaborone West Police on Monday morning and they have promised to help us. We have also engaged a private security company to beef up our security,” Pheto explained. He said that despite the differences they have, security will be guaranteed for dissenting voices like Seisa and company at the AGM.

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