Four of the veteran players at the Premier league Champions Township Rollers are said to be contemplating retirement this coming season. The four players who were roped in to the Blues include Nelson Viola Gabolwelwe, Pius Kgolagano, Tebogo Mothusi and Thandwa Moreki.
The players were brought in by Rollers management to try and bring stability into the team and help steer the youthful Rollers squad. Both players although mainly used from bench contributed to the team’s triumph this season. Coach Rahman Gumbo used Mothusi, Moreki and Gabolwelwe as a tactical manoeuvre, an indestructible code that teams are still decipher. Speaking to Voice Sport on Tuesday, Mothusi confirmed the plan to retire, but would not say when.
“Yes my intention is to retire but I’m still to finalise everything with the management,” Mothusi said. He said unlike most players who leave their teams and end up playing somewhere at lower divisions, his retirement from Rollers will be a final goodbye from active football.
“I will not play for any other team after retiring from Rollers,” he told Voice Sport. The former Zebras and TASC midfielder said his stay at Rollers has been eventful and wished supporters will respect his decision.
Gabolwelwe, the former Zebras player, said work commitments have made it difficult for him to play football in the past season. He did not feature for his club in a single match in the second round of the league.
This prompted one Rollers teammate to question the “funny shifts” he was being given by his employers, Botswana Defence Force.
Gabolwelwe lamented that he could not play as much football as he did when he was still with BDF XI. “I have not enjoyed much football this season due to work and I feel it would be wise to make room for youngsters at Rollers,” he said.
The veteran however did not rule the possibility of playing for a lower division side should work commitment allow him.
“I would love to continue training with my boys at Rollers because I had a wonderful time there,” he said before ruling out the possibility of going into coaching.
Gabolwelwe said football needs time and a lot of commitment, which makes it difficult for him to consider a coaching career.
Another veteran who is also on the way out, sees things differently. Pius Kgolagano featured in the last five matches for Rollers and his performance was good despite missing action for a season.
“Retirement is inevitable. But I’m not doing it because I want to make way for youngsters. The truth is I feel I have come to a stage where I can no longer learn anything new in football. I have seen all the tricks and I’m ready to try something else within football,” Kgolagano said.
He said Rollers management is so professional that they can put it to him that he still has more seasons of football left in him.
“That is how it is done in a professional set up. Management can decide to try you in a new post and find out what you can offer. You don’t just retire,” he said.
Kgolagano said football in Botswana has no future and one has to make hay while the sun still shines.
“I talk to a lot of youngsters like Pontsho Moloi and Kabelo Dambe that they should use their names to their advantage while they are still at the peak of their careers,” he said.
The no nonsense defender said it is imperative for club management to engage their veteran players to find ways of how they can help to further develop the team.
“We can be helpful in other social activities and inspiring upcoming players. It is important that we are engaged before players forget us. It will be difficult for a player like Dambe who has never seen Tummie Duiker or Razor Tsatsilebe play to seek help from them,” Kgolagano told Voice Sport. Meanwhile as the transfer window opened last Monday, Rollers were said to be eyeing enterprising Mochudi Centre Chiefs winger Sekhana Koko and his teammate Michael Mogaladi.
Rollers look certain to loose at least four players in Edwin Moalosi, Joel Mogorosi, Itai Gwandu and Terence Mandaza. Koko is expected to fill in the gap that would be left by Moalosi should the pint sized player sign a contract with Amazulu in South Africa, while Mogaladi will be roped in to fill the void left by Itai Gwandu who is on Orlando Pirates’ wanted list.
Also on Gumbo’s radar is Ecco City Green’s prolific goal-scorer Patrick Lenyeletse who is expected to continue where Terence Mandaza has left off.