Despite recent decisions by domestic teams to withdraw from this season’s CAF competitions due to financial stress, Township Rollers financier Jagdish Shah is eager that his side should clinch the League championship so that they can compete in the continental fixture.
Shah is convinced that the blues will win the league and compete in the African champions’ league next season.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United earlier this year pulled out of the champions’ league and confederation cup where they were scheduled to play teams from Zanzibar and Mozambique. The two giants cited financial constraints. Shah on the other hand said Rollers management would pull all stops to ensure that the club represent Botswana in Africa.
‘’It should be understood that our objective is to climb higher; we want players to make a living out of football. It is critical that players get a chance to play at a better level with a mission to export them to the best leagues in the World. Conquering Africa gives players the opportunity to shine on the international stage and be scouted across African nations,” said Shah.
Rollers champions’ league encounter against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs last year pulled a big crowd at the National stadium despite what many believed to be exorbitant ticket prices ranging from P75 to P500. ‘’Playing against Chiefs last season continues to push us to do better, it was encouraging to see local players giving a team of Chiefs calibre a run for their money ,” said Shah.
He insists that Botswana players are as talented as their African counterparts. ‘’Local footballers can make waves on the international stage if given an equal opportunity to showcase their talent in the right platforms. Lack of facilities has hindered them to shine and explore but they are as good as some international players,” concluded Shah.
With two games before the 2015/16 season wraps up, Rollers is leading the pack sitting at the summit of the bemobile Premiership. Close rivals Centre Chiefs and Orapa United are locked. Rollers are still to play relegation threatened Green Lovers and title chasers Orapa United in their last match of the season.
Rollers and Zebras shot stopper Kabelo Dambe pointed out that for personal development, local players need to be exposed to Africa’s best. ‘’Playing in CAF competitions is a step forward for clubs and players as there is a lot of exposure. It is important for players to judge their capability after playing in challenging conditions across Africa. Some African nations will test your character and in that case they prepare players mentally and that is vital for the growth of the domestic league,” Dambe told Sunday Standard Sports.
Dambe was quick to say ‘’in terms of talent we match a lot of African players; all we need is a paradigm shift in the way we view football as a career. I believe we can go far as a nation in football. Competing in Africa is critical for clubs and players. It is all about key stakeholders coming on board then we can be a force to reckon with.”