Rollers on a brink of collapse

Monday, 12 October 2015
Rollers on a brink of collapse

The current management of Township Rollers seems to be engaged in a dangerous game that might see the club go down the drain. At press time by Wednesday evening this week, they were locked up in a meeting with Jagdish Shah in their effort to get him to be the one to finance the club instead of Somerset Gobuiwang.

Both Shah and Gobuiwang have a share of 40 percent apiece in a company called Township Holdings – the same company that has been serving as the business arm of Township Rollers FC until the high court recently ruled that the company has no business running the affairs of the club. The club in turn has a 20 percent stake in the company, but in monetary terms, it has been the two directors Shah and Somerset who were bankrolling the club. Recently however, there has been a reported fall out between the two men, with Shah reiterating his stance this Wednesday that he cannot work with Somerset anymore.

This comes on the backdrop of the court judgement that actually left either of the directors left in a position where any assistance to the club would be seen as just a kind gesture with no strings attached. Legally, a private company cannot run the affairs of a society, the high court judgement insinuated. This forced a hastily-composed interim committee that runs the club to work out a way to get Township Holdings to continue assisting the club without contravening the order of the court. The club committee was recently asked to engage the two company directors to map a way forward, but there was the issue of Shah stating that whatever happens, he will not want to work with Gobuiwang.

Caught in the horns of a dilemma, the committee had to make a decision as to who to go with, and at this Wednesday’s meeting, they were to offer Shah a chance to invest in the club without the involvement of Gobuiwang. Yet that same Wednesday afternoon some hour or minutes before the meeting, Shah was still an angry man at the way Rollers’ management has treated him. Shah minced no words when he told BG Sports in an interview that he was not impressed with the attitude of the club. Although he confirmed he would be meeting the club, he still expressed disdain at the manner he had been treated. “Just last week they had a meeting and I was not invited, yet I am the one they are asking to assist the club financially. Incidentally, Somerset was invited to that meeting. Clearly it shows they don’t  want me. The best they ask me is how I can work with Somerset.

I cannot work with him, we have different opinions on how to do things.” he said, adding that he was a frustrated man at the turn of events.Somerset on the other hand is reported to have made it known that he has no problem working with Shah and that he is still prepared to continue assisting Rollers as he has always done before he brought in Shah. In bringing in Shah to Rollers a couple of years ago, he had admitted to his drying coffers and needed someone to help cushion his spending at the club. This Wednesday, he declined to comment on the ensuing saga at the club, saying he had no mandate to talk on club affairs and related issues. “Anything relating to Township Rollers can be sourced from Phempheretlhe Pheto, he is the club’s official spokesperson,” Gobuiwang told BG Sport.

The unfolding events of Wednesday clearly showed that the Rollers’ management had decided to dump Gobuiwang and flirt with Shah instead. Still Gobuiwang declined when asked what his future was with the club. Reports suggest some in the Rollers’ management decided that financially, they could trust Shah rather than Gobuiwang whom they reportedly dismissed as having no money to afford the Rollers’ expenses. It is for this reason that they met Shah on Wednesday evening, the outcome of which was unknown when this publication went for print. It thus remains to be seen if the Rollers’ committee might have managed to make Shah have a change of heart. This Wednesday afternoon ahead of the meeting, Shah could not dismiss the possibility of him jumping ship as had been widely reported. Asked to confirm rumours of him being courted by Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Shah could only say, “Right now I am like a player during a transfer window.

I am a free agent and everybody is approaching me and asking me to join them instead.”
Rollers’ plan was to ask Shah to continue financing the club while the committee worked on forming a new company in which they would give him majority shareholding. In the process, Gobuiwang would be left in limbo. What is not clear however is if Shah would accept the plan, failing which the club might have to humble itself before Gobuiwang whom they have already labelled broke. And what if Somerset also moves on away from the club after showing him he was not their preferred man? Only the outcome of the Wednesday meeting will show clarity on where the club is headed. Should Shah jump ship, it will be like rubbing  salt on an already bleeding wound for Rollers.

There are worries over salaries of players, some of which reportedly go up to P40 000 per month. Some within the club posit that even if he were to leave, the society will still not be answerable to players’ salaries. They argue that the salaries are an agreement between Township Holdings and the players. Such is the Pandora box that is about to be open at Rollers should things not go the committee’s way. In the meantime, it is documented that the club’s supporters are divided on the choice between Shah and Gobuiwang, with some pleading for the two men to smoke a peace pipe on whatever got between them.

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