The year 2012 will remain for a long time in the minds of Notwane Football Club supporters. For the first time, the team was relegated to the First Division and now it remains to be seen whether they will bounce back in a short period of time.
Notwane are a big club in Botswana. The Premier League has lost a team that has been there for more years than most current teams.
What can be taken note of is that Notwane were the first team to win an organised league in Botswana, way back in 1978 and, a year later, they were also the first team from Botswana to participate in the African Club competitions.
Notwane have been both league and Coca Cola tournament champions before. The team even produced a player seen as the best ever to have graced local soil, the late Winnie Dennilson.
With such impeccable history, one would have thought the powers that be at the helm of the club should have done all possible to save it from relegation.
Notwane has for years prided itself as the oldest team in Botswana to have not tasted relegation and that has changed completely. Many people are also asking themselves what could have happened with Toronto, as Notwane are affectionately called.
One of the long serving members and elders of the team, Segolame Ramothwa, told The Telegraph that it was very sad to see a team of Notwane’s caliber dropping to the lower division.
“I think everybody at the club has come to terms with the relegation of the team, but honestly it was really sad to see Notwane going down, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise. We are, however, adamant that we have learnt our lessons and we will make a quick come back,” he said.
Ramothwa, however, stressed that three major factors contributed to the team’s relegation and they were not given attention they deserved.
“I would say the team’s administration was not stable and it affected the team a lot. Imagine the committees of the team were changed time and again and that even resulted in the unstable environment in the technical department. Coaches at the team were also changed regularly and that was not at all fit for the team,” he said.
Ramothwa, who also served for some time in the national executive of the Botswana Football Association, added that the financial aspect also played a role in the current affairs Notwane find itself in.
He said without a stable finance, the team cannot go anywhere.
“You cannot expect players to be committed and focused if there is nothing for them, come month end. That is where we had a serious problem,” he said.
Ramothwa stressed that the final straw for the team was the loss of good players they produced but were never replaced. He said Notwane produced so many excellent players but could not hold on to them.
“If you look in the Premier League you will find many players that are traditionally produced by Notwane. The current champions’ Mochudi Centre Chiefs has a lot of our former players and it shows that had we not lost them we would still be a force to reckon with,” he said.