They have won every title on offer on the domestic front, but former Premier League giants, Gaborone United (GU) have slid into an unenviable situation as they have literally crawled to the Botswana Premier League (BPL) for intervention.
A club that earned the nickname, The Money Machine, smashing and grabbing every cup competition, has, unsurprisingly taken out the begging bowl. Sources said the GU management has been forced to approach the BPL, in an unambiguous admission that the financial challenges are out of hand.
The Red side of Gaborone is reeling and has reportedly requested for the postponement of the Saturday afternoon’s derby against Township Rollers at the National Stadium.
Coach, Rudolfo Zapata, expected to leave the club at the end of the season, told Mmegi Sport that the players had not trained since last week Friday. However, the players were expected to report for training at 4pm yesterday.
Sources said the club was forced to escalate the issue to the BPL as there was no solution in sight.
“The situation is bad. Players don’t want to play without the money,” the source said.
The club reportedly asked the BPL to intervene looking at the dire situation. There are no immediate solutions to paying players’ overdue salaries, after the club exhausted the Mascom Top 8 prize money last month.
GU general manager, Olebile Sikwane however, refused to comment on the matter.
The wheels have come off spectacularly at a club that was the embodiment of professionalism just a couple of seasons back.
But with the withdrawal of investor, Nikolas Zakhem, the plunge began, and it has accelerated in recent weeks after financier, Rapula Okaile found himself facing mounting legal challenges.
This week, the lowest ebb, not only for GU, but Botswana football in general, saw the club come out openly and appeal for well-wishers do drop whatever penny they have in the begging bowl. Although Sikwane later issued a statement, saying it was not the best way to solicit for funds, the club admitted the financial difficulties.
“The club executive committee wishes to retract the earlier statement on how membership should contribute to the club. Whilst the club admits financial problems, we wish to state that this may not be the ideal mechanism to solicit assistance. The executive is consulting on the most prudent, transparent and accountable way of assisting the club,” Sikwane said in a statement.