It does not rain but pour for beleaguered Gaborone United (GU); as six players have terminated their contracts just a few hours before the team was expected to honour a rematch against Police XI.
The move surprised a few at the helm of GU management following a series of meetings with players that evidently bore no fruits. Players say the club does not want to take their grievances into consideration, and having been patient for a long time, they have no option but to resign.
The last meeting between the players and the management, was reportedly held on Friday morning. It is said GU management wanted players to play their two remaining games and later demand their dues after the season ends. One the other hand, the players, who repeatedly say they have over-stretched their patience, wanted their outstanding fees to be deposited before going back to the field.
As the BFA toiled to lead both parties to a common understanding, Footballers Union Botswana (FUB), an organization that represents players’ interests, felt vindicated, particularly after the associations’ Dispute Resolution Chambers (DRC) dismissed the Union’s application that GU players’ case should not be attended urgently.
DRC said FUB should lodge the case through a normal route. The committee said that the requirements of urgency were not met because players can still seek relief as per their contract during the off season. In essence, DRC says there is no prejudice on the part of the players.
The Union is of the view that the GU case has been going unattended and it was a matter of time before it explodes. Ironically, GU management vehemently blames the Union for inciting players into a strike that would give birth to this contract termination.
Head of legal at the Union, Puso Motlhabane says they are happy as the union because, ultimately players have understood their rights. He is of the view that if players felt that they took the right decision and are happy about it, they too are overjoyed. “It is indeed true that 6 GU players have handed in their resignation letters, and we are now happy as the Union that players exercised their rights,” he said. When reached for more clarity, GU Secretary General City Senne denied reports that some players resigned, saying they have only heard about that through the grapevine.
“It is news to us, but of course there are players who have shown a great intent of resign, but as of now nothing in terms of writing has reached our office,” he said. WeekendPost understands that the players who have resigned are Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Goitseone Phoko, Tumisang Orebonye, Karabo Phiri, Tshepho Maikano and of course Kabelo Seakanyeng who is rumoured to be heading to Township Rollers. Moreover, it is said players like Dirang Moloi and Thatayaone Kgamanyane will not play until the league ends.
Gaborone United is a club on free fall. Ever since the departure of head coach Rudolph Zapata together with resignation of Chairman Okaile Rapula, the team has never found inner peace. What even complicates matters is the fact that warring factions are battling each other as a decision is to be made on who should invest in the club.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.