Preparations for the coming Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League clash are said to be going very well at Township Rollers camp. Rollers’ spokesperson Bafana Pheto said the team is currently working very hard for the coming games. Pheto said their main aim this year is to at least reach the group stages, hence their hard work at training. Rollers will be taking on CNPS Sport of Madagascar in the two legged encounter. They travel to Madagascar on February 10, 2017 before hosting them on 17th February, 2017 at the National Stadium. Despite preparations going on well, the team however is faced with some challenges just over two weeks prior the first leg. Injuries are said to have hit the 2015/16 BTCL premiership champions with two of their players likely to be ruled out of both the first and the second leg. Pheto said the team has only two goalkeepers but one of them is out with a shoulder injury. To further dent the squad Galagbwe Moyana is also out with a knee injury leaving the squad down to 23 men from the initial 25 players. “We are currently faced with such challenges and since we have only two goalkeepers will are now looking for the third keeper. The same applies for Moyana, since the number of players has been reduced we have to replace him and we are looking for the replacement as we speak,” said Pheto. He said this is worrisome looking at the fact that the team is not only preparing for CAF but two other competitions that are equally important. The team, however, still got time to look for replacements of the players as the transfer window is still open.
Rollers are currently competing in the BTC Premiership and the Mascom Top 8 competition with Pheto revealing that it is their mandate to win the two competitions. He said preparing for three competitions has therefore been very hectic on their part. “This makes it a very hectic stage for us since the competitions are clustered together without much time apart from each other,” he exclaimed. To demonstrate this, Rollers this weekend played a very hectic match in the league, just a week before yet another important encounter in the Mascom Top 8 cup next weekend. Immediately after this, the team will then take a trip to Madagascar for the CAF Champions League match against CNPS Sport. “It is going to be tough and we are even afraid the players might get fatigued or even pick up injuries along the way,” he said. However, Pheto is confident that the team will do well and stick to its objectives despite the challenges ahead. To add to Rollers’ worries is the issue of a coach leading the team to CAF games. Having just appointed Mogomotsi Mpote as the head coach it means the team does not have a coach with a CAF A license which is a requirement by CAF. Mpote has been roped in to replace Mark Harrison who – according to Pheto – is the one whose name appears in the squad sent to CAF. The team now faces a challenge that their coach does not comply with the CAF requirement as confirmed by Pheto who said Mpote is only in possession of the CAF B licence.
Pheto, however, said that this is not a big issue as Mpote was already appearing in the squad that was sent to CAF. “It is just the same as if a team had a coach and he dies before the games. Should the team be punished for that because they do not have a CAF qualified coach? We had Harrison and he left and we are left with Mpote,” he said. Pheto said to clarify the matter the team would seek assistance from Botswana Football Association (BFA). However, when contacted for comment BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said they have not yet received any letter from Rollers concerning the issue. According to procedure if something like this happens, a team has to write to the BFA and the association will then seek proper clarity from CAF. It is only after the response from CAF that a resolution can be made. Some within BFA also says for a solution to be made swiftly the team should communicate well in time.