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Gunners' fans caught between rock and hard place

BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO
Gunners' troubles are well documented. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Extension Gunners supporters are the grass that is suffering as warring factions fight for the control of the popular Lobatse side.

Two parallel committees run the club after some supporters gathered in Lobatse last Saturday and elected in a new committee.

The meeting took place despite strong warning from the committee led by Tariq Babitseng about its illegality and consequences that would follow.

The disgruntled supporters have for the past few weeks expressed their displeasure at the way the Gunners executive committee has been running the affairs of the club.

They even invited the executive committee to the Saturday special meeting and warned that even without the committee’s presence, they would proceed with the gathering.

It was at the meeting where some supporters ushered in a new committee led by chairperson, George Kerekang and his vice, Ian Kebopetswe.

The committee led by Babitseng insists the Saturday meeting was illegal and it does not recognise the new committee.

With two centres of power now heading for what would likely be a long dispute, the majority of supporters now find themselves in a dilemma.

They are in a situation where they have to choose between two groups fighting for power. The other group feels it can rescue the club from its current problems, which include lack of finance and looming relegation.

It is of the believe that the other committee has failed to deal with the problems facing the club. The other group led by Babitseng insists it

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can still work things out and ensure that everything returns to normalcy.

It also believes the current financial problems are a result of the ineffectiveness of the previous committee, which it says some of the people voted in over the weekend, were part of.  With all these happening, a majority of the supporters have started pressing panic buttons.

They have watched such matters unfold elsewhere and the end result was devastating. Former Premier League giants, Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ problems started when two centres of power failed to reach a common ground for a long period until the club eventually found itself in the lower division.

Some supporters feel Babitseng and his committee should be given a chance and rescue the club. Others feel his time is up and that his other personal problems are affecting the club’s progress.

Babitseng is facing a tough time at the hands of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) over financial issues dating back to his time as the vice president of the association.

The BFA says Babitseng has been suspended from all football activities while he insists he is still the legitimate chairperson of Gunners. 

Club spokesperson, Willoughby Kemoen acknowledged the existence of two parallel committees. Representatives of the two groups were scheduled to appear before the BFA yesterday, to get their sides of the story.



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