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Rollers’ pot of gold turns into silverware

Publishing Date : 29 May, 2018

Author : MOSIMANEGAPE TSHOSWANE

Township Rollers made a bold statement this week―that they are still a force to reckon with, when they won a third successive premiership title and in the process completing a league double with the Mascom Top 8 cup.


There is a sense of gratification within a team powered by multi-millionaire, Jagdish Shah and spear headed by Serbian born coach Nikola Kavazovic particularly that the club is playing the CAF champion’s league game for the first time in history. Interestingly, Rollers spokesperson Phempheretlhe Pheto has composed a song for the club, which has virtually become a national anthem- reverberating in the hearts of those who love and hate this team in equal measure.


Multitudes of fans were seen singing this song Wednesday night after the team defeated Lobatse’s Extension Gunners by 2 first half goals, without any reply from the troubled young outfit. But it was always optimistic as well as faintly self‑effacing. When a sense of dominance came, 8 years after the club's last major overhaul of trophies, no patron of the now discarded Mmamasire grounds would have expected it to arrive on such an engulfing tide of money.


Jwaneng Galaxy fans will scoff and say Rollers have bought the third consecutive trophy on Botswana football. In essence, they are saying Rollers has bought its way to the top by assembling an expensive squad. Mutual appreciation was bound to be rare as both high paying clubs took possession of the trophy moments before the kickoff time. It therefore took 90 minutes to separate the two. And Rollers became the ultimate winners.


Big-money players may have arrived at the Gaborone giants but it still required a feat of experimentation by coach Kavazovic to blend so many disparate capabilities. Kavazovic's diary of the season would be a red-hot read. There have been weeks when you suspected them of conducting a random supermarket trolley dash but the club insists every buy is planned with a chart to hand.


Joel Mogorosi once tested the management’s patience following his brawl with competitors. He was angry that he was not protected when he sustained an injury that nearly ended his career. While serving suspension, Rollers took a rather surprising stand that the player would not be getting his salary until the time the deferment ended.


Yet Kavazovic and Rollers have made more good calls than bad. Tshepo Motlhabankwe, who was born to move, has been kept under control sufficiently for him to have been Roller's best right back player; yes Joel Mogorosi still looks a good bet, despite disciplinary lapses; Simisani Mathumo is the second‑best centre-half after Orapa’s Thabang Mosige; Mwampule Masule has recovered his concentration in goal; Segolame Bouy brings class to the midfield and Captain Maano Ditshupo power, close control and commitment have scattered a lot of opponents.


Frequent speculation about the future and a lack of professionalism on the part of some players (Mthokosizi Msomi) cast Kavazovic at times as the stern headmaster trying to quell a school riot but he has never deviated from his aim of making Rollers more organized and resolute.


But honestly, a winning mentality has always been among the virtues he inherited at a club whose last major flourish was in 2010. But the three players who won that league together with the Coca- Cola cup were still instrumental to the team’s current rise. Joel Mogorosi, Edwin Moalosi together with Mathumo were playing 8 years ago as they are today.


The only dark cloud hovering upon Kavazovic’s success in his widely spread fall out with assistant coach Mogomotsi Mpote. After winning the cup, the gaffer spoke for the first time about Mpote that “Rollers started winning after Mpote left.” He continued, “he is only there because he has a license.”

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