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Nikola under GU pressure

It has been a strange few seasons for Gaborone United Sporting Club. The Reds are used to playing second fiddle in their own city due to the success of neighbours Township Rollers – with the Blues having the upper hand on them in terms of league finishes and head-to-heads in the Premier League era.

But since the arrival of Nikholas Zakhem as the clubs major sponsor, ambitions have changed. The Lebanon businessman is edging towards owning the club legally and he wants to make GU a force again both domestically and continentally. It is observed that he has massive plans for the club, with a plan to build a new stadium right at the forefront of his mind and so far he has really put his money where his mouth is. The Reds have often been outspent by their Premier League rivals which has left them behind, but times have changed recently. GU have thrown around some massive sums of money in an attempt to climb up the table and close in on Rollers, but it is fair to say they have found life pretty difficult so far.

Since the arrival of Zakhem, a business guru, they have never won the league but finished comfortable on the top 8 bracket. Along the road, they have also won few top 8 cups under different administrations. However, this year looks like they could deliver almost the same finish yet under a head coach they saw transforming and winning the double with Rollers. Nikola Kavazovic’s arrival at GU was supposed to provide the boost they needed to be the 'best of the rest' and compete with the top 3.

However after just 7 games they're languishing down in 6th position, just 8 points above 12th placed Morupule Wanderes. Nikola is a man under pressure and their recent form makes a particularly damning reading, which really begs the question – how quickly will he catch up?
Nikola is the second permanent coach to take the reins following in the footsteps of Madinda Ndlovu and Philemon Makhwengwe.

GU spent significant time and resource in getting the former Rollers gaffer to make the move to the city center, along with upsetting Premier League rivals who were entertaining a second thought to re reappoint him. His appointment was seen as a bit of a statement, an experienced and vocal coach with a big reputation for attacking football – just what the passionate GU fans had been crying out for.

But what followed has been majorly disappointing to say the least. Sure, there has been flashes of just what they are capable of, but they have been no way near enough consistent on the whole. The remit going into the campaign would have been to finish 2nd, finishing as close to the top as possible but instead they find themselves stuttering despite bringing the best on the squad. Kavazovic said his team is very desperate for a win but if they continue creating chances (which they did not take), they will become a competitive.

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Sport

GU bills Rollers over player sale

29th September 2020
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe

The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.

Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.

This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.

According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.

In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.

It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.

In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.

Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.

“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.

When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.

To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.

Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.

But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’

Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.

The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.

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Sport

Molepolole stadium to be refurbished

29th September 2020
Molepolole-stadium

The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.

The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.

The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.

The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out.  The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.

The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele.  In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.

“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system.  The stadium will therefore be out of   bounds   when   contracted   companies   begin   their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.

The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.

The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.

Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.

The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.

This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.

“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.

The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.

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Sport

Moloi negotiates terms with Masitaoka

29th September 2020

Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.

Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.

However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.

Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.

Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.

All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.

Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.

Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.

The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.

Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.

Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.

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