Township Rollers Coach Mogomotsi Mpote has silenced his critics by delivering the BTC Premiership title. When he (Mpote) took over the reign as Rollers stand-in coach in January 2017 most people doubted if he was the right person for the hot seat. Being knocked out of the Mascom Top 8 and the CAF Championship tournaments in a space of a week further aggravated things. People then lost hope of whether he would successfully lead Rollers to defend the BTC Premiership title. Despite all this Mpote remained unmoved and confident, trusting his ability to lead the team to glory.
Despite the good work Mpote however admitted that it was not an easy journey given the high expectation and pressure from all corners. “When you lead a team with such a large following there is always high expectation that can put one under pressure. Some will doubt you and mount more pressure on you with every game,” said Mpote. He was able to absorb the pressure by making sure the team delivered good results. The critics gave him the courage to work even harder to prove that he is equally a great coach. He has been in charge of the team in 17 league games and he has never lost a single one. He pulled a 70 % win, recording 12 wins and 5 draws. Mpote explained that it is the good results that the team produced that helped him stay afloat the pressure. He said since the team did not lose any game in the league, this took away the pressure not only from him but the players as well. Asked what kept them going he explained that he told the players that the game is about three points and to win the league they had to collect them. “What I emphasised was that on the three points we have our point while the other one was for the opponent and the other for BPL. I told them that we have to always fight to win the point of another team and we will be awarded by the BPL point. If that proves difficult I told them the best option is to fight to protect our own point and not to lose it,” he said.
Mpote explained that this is the mentality that took them through. He said he is happy the players managed to stick to this philosophy and never lost a point that belonged to them. He congratulated the players for their commitment and determination throughout the second round of the season. He said as the technical team they had made sure to win the respect in the dressing room, hence it was easy for them to produce good results. Mpote is now the first Motswana to win the championship in over 10 years. He told this publication that he has never doubted his ability as a coach and was adamant that he will win a silver ware at the end of the season. He, however, admitted that it was not easy and praised the team for their commitment. “When I was given this job I was tasked to compete in three competitions and the league was top of the list to win. When I was asked if I can do this, I said yes because I know what I am made of,” said Mpote. He knew what he was doing as a coach, hence the confidence he had to deliver. “I never doubted my abilities. I told myself that I am a better coach than any other and I also told the players that they are a better team than all the other 15 teams and they should act as such whenever they step into the field of play,” said Mpote. He was Rollers assistant coach before he ascended to the top seat and this gave him the chance to adjust to working with the team. Prior coming to Rollers, Mpote coached Tasc, Miscellaneous and BR Highlanders where he made impact. He also coached both the U-17 and U-20 national soccer teams and believes that the experience he got made him suitable for the position of Rollers coach. He said his future dream as a coach is to see himself coaching the senior national team and qualifying for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Coach adverts out
It, however, remains to be seen if after delivering the cup, the man will continue at the helm of Rollers in the coming season. Mpote was only roped in as coach for the 2016/17 season. His contract ends on 30 May 2017. He was appointed to this position following the departure of Coach Mark Harrison. Rollers management is already running adverts for the position of both the coach and assistant coach. The team spokesperson Phempheretlhe Pheto was quoted in the media, saying Mpote is at liberty to apply for any of the positions and his application will be assessed with all the others. It has been revealed that the position of Rollers head coach has attracted interest from coaches from around the region and even Europe.