There is a concern among the Premier League teams that Township Rollers and Notwane are above the laws of football and do what they please knowing that nothing concrete is ever really going to be done to them. The action by the two teams is seen as tarnishing the image of the local soccer which has improved compared to previous seasons.
This time around, Township Rollers openly defied the Botswana Football Association (BFA) instructions against using a kit printed with a logo of the Premier League’s rival sponsor while Notwane continued to use a player who had been declared a defaulter. Rollers wore a kit of Orange cellular company last weekend in a 2-0 loss against Police in Molepolole. Orange is a rival of Mascom, which sponsors the Premier League and they are both cellular providers in the country. Notwane, on the other hand, used Thebeeetsile Raditsebe against Satmos also last weekend, despite being instructed not to do so by the Premier League. Prior to the Satmos game, points were deducted from four games Notwane played using Raditsebe. Instead of protesting and putting the player aside, Notwane continued using him.
The move by Rollers and Satmos has infuriated some teams like Uniao Flamingo Santos which says the teams must this time around face stiffer penalties.
Santos Chairman, Mike Molefhe, did not mince his words and launched a scathing attack on the BFA leadership which he said is engineering the undesired developments. He said the officials of both teams are decision makers of the BFA because they serve on the National Executive Committee (NEC). He said this then creates a conflict of interest which affects football in general.
“BFA President, Philip Makgalemele is a Notwane member together with his Vice President responsible for administration, Segolame Ramotlhwa. On the other hand BFA treasurer, David Kandjii, together with other committee members like Tshepo Mphoeng and Puma Matlhware, are renowned Rollers members. This then means there is a power struggle.
“How do you expect our football to run smoothly in such circumstances? This time around we want stiff action against both teams because in the past they just got easily. NEC must show its teeth because what these teams are doing is an embarrassment and is heavily affecting our football,” Molefhe said.
Molefhe also said what surprises him the most about Notwane’s case is that it was similar to theirs when they signed one of their defenders, Talinda Nyathi from Notwane. He said Nyathi was not allowed to play because he had been registered after the transfer window was closed, the same thing that applies to Raditsebe. Molefhe asked why Notwane should be allowed to use Raditsebe while they were denied to use Nyathi.
In regard to Rollers, he said the team is unethical and should have accorded Mascom some respect. He said Orange might have been in football longer than Mascom, but that is not a reason to exploit the sponsorship.
“In Botswana, it is difficult to find a sponsor, but a move by Rollers to approach Mascom’s rival is very wrong. They must not only look at their interests but of other teams as well,” he said.
Other team officials refused to speak about Rollers in fear of their teams being victimised by the BFA. One official said it is good if both teams fight on their own and taste their own medicine. The official also said his team nearly suffered because he once said something which did not go down well with some NEC officials.
“When two bulls fight it is the grass that suffers the most. What now is suffering in our country is football while the warring parties are never affected. This time around something drastic needs to be done,” the official said.
Both teams have a history of always being treated with kid gloves by the executive committee of BFA. Way back in the early 90s, Rollers were supposed to get relegated to the First Division but teams ended up being increased from 12 to 14 and Rollers had to stay.
Still in the early 90s, Notwane also once faced relegation but could not go and stayed for almost a season without kicking a ball. The following season they finally went on the pitch but relegation teams were increased to three instead of the usual two.