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Players owed as GU takeover talks stall

KABELO BORANABI
GU players are owed salaries PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
As takeover talks between businessman, Nicholas Zakhem and Gaborone United (GU) stall, the players are said to be hard hit, as they are owed four months’ salaries.

In the past week, Zakhem sent a proposal to the club, where he wants full control for the next 15 years. However, the club’s interim committee earlier this week rejected the proposal, instead, they want fresh talks. 

Speaking to Mmegi Sport yesterday, GU interim chairperson, Boitumelo Nsunge said the club has been unable to pay the players’ dues resulting in a training boycott earlier this week.

“The elders committee has replied to his (Zakhem) proposal. We are waiting for his response. At the moment we have not been able to pay our players. Some did not attend training at the start of the week. They said they did not have money for transport. We are currently working hard to resolve the situation,” he said.

According to sources close to developments, the elders committee is at fault for the current situation as they rejected Zakhem’s ‘juicy’ proposal. Insiders say the elders are serving personal interests, which is affecting the team. It is said the supporters have been neglected in the decision-making.
“The elders committee just wants to hold on to the team but do not have the resources to run the club. They have this element that they have formed the club so they cannot give it to anyone else to run it on their behalf. But at the moment they do not have the financial muscle to run the club, but still, they rejected Zac’s juicy deal. It is a common practice around the world where outsiders are given full control to run football clubs; why can’t we do the same?”

“Supporters want Zakhem to be given total control. We are in deep trouble and desperate for his help. The deal would have

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been a start to rebuild the team. The elders committee is not working on their mandate, they do not consult the supporters on the matter,” the source added.

The role of the interim committee has been questioned, as per the club constitution, only the position that is elected is the club president. Club elders act as additional members only, rather than being given specific roles in the committee.

“It is a mess, people have given themselves roles in the interim committee and that is against the constitution. Supporters are not consulted; only three or four branch chairpersons are called in the decision-making. But I can tell you that the majority of the supporters want the team to be given to Zac,” the source said.

Responding to the allegations, Nsunge said the club will be going for executive elections in the near future where all executive decisions would be contested.  “As per the constitution, we are entitled to involve the supporters. We shall call them sooner and announce the dates of the meeting. At the moment we are not in a position to announce the dates of the elective assembly,” he said.

GU’s problems stretch from last season as the struggle for power continues to impact on the team. Due to the recurring problems, Moyagoleele have lost a number of key players including Tumisang Orebonye, Karabo Phiri, Jackson Lesole and Mothusi Johnson who have sought greener pastures.

Meanwhile, Zakhem is expected back in the country next week from a business trip in United States of America and he expects the committee to be “ready to make a decision” in the week.

“Nothing so far,” was all Zakhem could say when asked about progress in talks.



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