The atmosphere had the feeling of Deja Vu once again. The Gaborone United Special General Meeting this past Saturday bore close similarities to that of the AGM of 2015.
Both had decisions made not to have elections for different reasons and both saw elections held anyway primarily because both had agendas that were not going to stop any election come what may.
However, the common thread to both these meetings was in their build-up whereby a strong swirl of emotions were being whipped up against the incumbents in favour of change. In 2015 it was against the so-called Katlholo incumbency – this time round it was the so-called Elders; but in both cases the end game was the same – install Nicolas Zakhem as the Messiah!
The only difference is that in 2015 Gaborone United had a backbone in comparison to now. The Club had healthy finances and had been arguably one of the best run Clubs for a number of years. Its EXCO was strong with committed members who were able to close sponsorship deals and to some extent this was taken hugely for granted by supporters and members. Many felt this was a paradigm that would never change or if at that change for the better with the man from Lebanon.
Of importance in the GU sorry saga is why Zakhem, popularly known as Zac, felt he had to muscle in more than he had done up to that point. He had a controlling interest in the company that his company Zac Construction and GU jointly owed. This company was the commercial wing of GU and in his own admission, provided the investor model that could be used in Societies. Why then was this not adequate for Zac? He wanted complete control – as much as he claimed to love GU and football; he had never been a team-player; he had never been a sportsman. If he wasn’t taking the penalty he was taking his ball from the game!
To achieve his goal a plan was hatched such that a favourable EXCO was appointed in 2015. Appointed because if he was not going to have his way, he declared he was walking out on the team. A reasonable campaign had been mounted by his cohorts and as such there were not enough people to call his bluff and tell him to get lost. The plan gained momentum and in two years the Club had from a position of over P3m no money.
Players and ancillary staff were being indiscriminately fired raising the spectre of court cases. Zac, with his undying love for GU literally began prostituting himself to various clubs like a gun-for-hire. During this period he was heard of at or having interest in Miscellaneous, Gilport Lions, Notwane and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
The first meeting in Palapye was to discuss how Zac was to attain 100% control and when that did not happen he ruthlessly went about in ensuring the cards fell onto his lap. As GU crumbled from the high wages he had brought in, his cronies started jumping ship – in fact those that didn’t jump he ordered them to do so and hand the Club to the Elders. He wanted a situation to arise where his taking of the club was condoned in one form or the other.
Clearly Zac was running GU all
The so called Appiah case was probably what heightened the deplorable state of this great Club. It was not that Zac could not pay this amount. In fact originally the amount was nearer P21,000 than the P450,000 that was finally paid excluding costs by the Elders that had rabid GU supporters foaming at the mouth and baying for their blood. The plan was to bring the Club to its knees so that GU supporters literally begged him to come back.
This was aided and abetted by a media that was playing to his orchestration like the pied piper. All mainstream papers were competing to have a different image of him on its back page every week as every radio station of note was bending over backwards (no in fact forward) to air pro-Zackem interviews.
The Million Dollar question that the man of the moment has not enlightened anybody on when talking about the rejection his proposal has received is what’s in it for him! The sadly equally captured senior citizen David Mophuting talks of the “mouth-watering” proposal from the businessman that must not be missed as the membership tears up the constitution to accommodate it.
It is probably fair game to tear up the constitution instead it should be done to get Zac as far away from GU as possible. Such talk resonates with the apparent hatred some Elders are said to have of him but if what Nikolas Zakhem has done to Gaborone United is “Love” then he deserves the full brunt of hatred that true Gaborone United supporters need to show.
As talk of buses and stadiums drive self-seeking uninspired so called fans to blindly embrace Zac and fail to ask what’s different now to 2015: why he left the team in the lurch and now comes claiming ‘back- love’? And most importantly why is he talking so much about what he claims to be offering the Club without talking in the same ferocity about what he’ll be benefiting from this National Asset that he has brought huge reputational damage to! It can’t just be tax rebates especially as an investor! The extent to which Gaborone United is marketable with Zac in the forefront is highly questionable.
For someone who can talk loosely about what his friend in Botswana Football Association tells him about disciplinary outcomes when not a structure of the Club, can only show a person of questionable credentials. What is definitely in doubt is the man’s true bonafides to this Club and Country and the sooner his legion of followers realise this the better!