• Spend P10 m on Rollers in two years
• To leave by February
• Not dumping players now – wants League title
There is no doubt that business mogul Jagdish Shah has transformed Township Rollers. He has turned the team into one of the most professional teams in the country that compares favourably with those from advanced leagues in a short space of two years.
Shah now refers to the divisions in the Township Rollers leadership as very unfortunate. He had a vision of making Rollers a profit making team that will be able to generate its own money. But with the way things are that might soon be a thing of the past because Shah is at what he refers to as “a crossroad”. If things do not change he would have parted ways with the team by February next year.
The Rollers Society had a meeting where the interim committee was endorsed in September and that endorsement was given a mandate to go and discuss with Shah and other potential partners the way forward. As far as it stands now Shah said he does not know whether they have gone to other partners to discuss or not because his stand is that he does not to work with a partner, which means either that or nothing at all. He said he believes his objective was defeated long time ago. His style of business is to invest now and reap tomorrow, but he thinks nobody sees that. “You can’t invest today and get returns today in a situation like this,” he said. He said they came to him and gave him a proposal but as of today nothing is tied up and there is no conclusion whatsoever.
With the Botswana Premiership League (BPL) teams having become so competitive, Shah said he can’t dump the team now because he still does not want them to lose any point because that might jeopardise their chances of getting the league title. For the purpose of the welfare of the players Shah clarified that he is not dumping the team.
“They are neither coming up with any offer or any solution,” he said. He said the last time he had a meeting with the officials they asked him if he can be with the team until the end of the season but he told them that it is not possible because he does not want a situation where they will drop him next season. He said if nothing is agreed on by February he will stop being part of the team completely. He said it is a pity that nothing has been agreed on yet. He believes that the interim committee is having different conflicting agendas and that might be why they seem to not be agreeing on one thing.
He said contrary to what people think there is no profit in running a team because running a team like Rollers. He dismissed suggestions that Rollers are a big team that can get any investor. He said if they were there then they should have long brought them so that they displace him, but there is nothing like that. He said the club needs P4m to P5 million per year.
He said every day the Committee has a different concept, and all that they have been doing is to take more and more from him. “The Interim committee has something in mind but they are not bluntly coming out and saying that,” he said. He said he is aware that the day he leaves the team will not be able to run efficiently because as far as it stands now, the Society doesn’t have the capacity and the infrastructure to do that.
He said in the beginning he was told that a team could run on P1 million in a year and with his business acumen he thought he could manage that only to realise that it was not P1 million a year but rather many more expenses which were not disclosed. That amount ballooned to P5m a year when he beefed up the squad and elevated it to high and competitive standard. “It is a sad stage that all investors that are there in the football fraternity are going through the same thing in other clubs as well. I hope there can be a solution to that,” he said. He said it is a different game now that no one can afford to pay players from the boot of their car. He urged people to stop comparing the local league to that of South Africa when in Botswana it is even very hard to get a sponsor just for P1 million.
He said as business men they know that the market in Botswana is very small to attract foreign investors, and that is why it is important to take the team to an international level because by that then foreign investors will be enticed to put in money. He gave example that almost every big brand is here in Botswana but they are not supporting anything. He said his vision was to up the game and increase the Rollers support even in the African continent. He said even if he is to leave Rollers, Botswana is his country and he will continue to play a role and give back to the community and that is why he is part of the ruling party. He said there will always be something for him to do and he will never stop giving Batswana support.