The battle for the control of one of the country’s biggest football brands, Township Rollers, is resurfacing again.
The team, through its secretary Khumoyame Masonya, has written to its former managing Director Somerset Gobuiwang requesting him to deregister Township Holdings (PTY) Ltd from trading as Township Rollers Football Club.
“In January 2013, through your company, Township Holdings (Pty) LTD you proposed to run the affairs of Township Rollers Football Club, the society. To make things easy, you further proposed that your company be allowed to trade as Township Rollers Football Club. Township Rollers FC genuinely but mistakenly believed at the time that it could operate simultaneously as a club and a company. Therefore the executive committee of Township Rollers Football club acceded to your proposal” read the letter.
“As you are aware, some members of Township Rollers Football club later contested this arrangement at the high court of Botswana. It was during the delivery of this judgment that the error came to the fore. On the 6th August 2015, the High court judgment of justice Dambe made it clear that no entity can run the affairs of the society. It is only the society that can run its own affairs through its executive committee,” the letter continued, referencing to the high court challenge by some Rollers supporters on the team ownership.
The case against the Township Holdings and Rollers was brought by Mookodi Seisa and others who approached the court challenging the control and ownership of the club. Seisa and company contended that the elected committee members are the only members who have the sole responsibility of running the club.
High court judge, Justice Leatile Dambe ruled in favour of Seisa and his colleagues who were challenging ownership of and control of Rollers by Township Holdings. Dambe ruled that the society must be left alone to run its affairs and there is no entity that can run the affairs of the society.
“It is on the basis of the aforesaid that we hereby request that your company, Township Holdings (PTY) LTD, a company duly incorporated under the Companies Act, to stop trading as Township Rollers Football Club with immediate effect and deregister such prior arrangements with regard to using the name Township Rollers FC for commercial purposes,” so reads the letter.
In the letter, which is dated 10th May 2018, the Rollers executive committee gave Gobuiwang 7 days to respond to their demands.
Contacted for comment Gobuiwang said ”I am a surprised that Masonya and his executive committee wrote me such a letter when there is yet another case concerning this matter before court. They have been missing court sessions and have failed to abide by the demands of the court ruling. I will respond to the letter.”
The case Gobuiwang referred to is the one of contempt of court in which Seisa and company are alleging that Gobuiwang and Shah are yet to hand the team back to the society.
Seisa and company want the court to punish the management of rollers for failing to abide by the court order. The aggrieved supporters want the total control of the club. Rollers are currently run by Jagdish Shah who is also the chief financier of the club.
For his part Rollers PRO, Bafana Pheto said they will not divulge what they will do if Gobuiwang does not respond to them. “We will see what to do if he does not respond to us.”
Asked if they have complied since the Dambe ruling he said “as far as we know we have complied with the court order, that is why there is executive committee running the team” Pheto.
He explained that the same letter was written to Shah and Gobuiwang, “Shah has since responded saying he does not have a problem with that and as for Gobuiwang he was yet to respond” Pheto.
Roller is reportedly courting real estate tycoon Jamal to come on board and run the club. It will be seen if the coming in of Jamal will not arouse further conflicts like in the past.