Tough times lie ahead for Nico United FC as fears that the club may soon collapse grow thick. Weekend Sport has learnt that the club is on slippery ground following its main sponsor, BCL being shut down. As it is, the club started the year (2016) on a negative balance sheet as even before the provisional liquidation, BCL already had financial problems and cut off their assistance to the club.
“Since the beginning of this year BCL has not being doing well hence we have not being receiving our sponsorship accordingly, thus we had troubles with paying our players and settling hospitality bills, but it was better, but now the liquidation has completely paralyzed us because we no longer have a free bus from the company, our utility bills at the offices and training grounds are on us to settle,’’ revealed Coach Blue Same, a technical mentor at Nico United.
According to Same, the club now only makes do with grants from Botswana Premier League which are not enough. The club also survives on individual contributions from good Samaritans and well wishers. The club’s board which usually saved the team also comprises BCL employees who have since lost their jobs. “When I say the liquidation has hit us hard I mean this: our board comprises of former BCL employees, most of them managers and superintendents, this gentlemen have been helping with money from their pockets but now they are unemployed and some are already out of town scouting for greener pastures elsewhere, we are in big trouble,” he said .
According to the coach, the mine’s closure has lead to an exodus of the bulk of the team board members, further revealing his fears that this could be the end of his team. The board chairman is allegedly tipped for a new lucrative job at Lucara Karowe mine. According to sources at Majombolo, players have not been receiving their monthly payments and will be going for Christmas holidays empty handed “These are children, young men and boys who play for the team whole heartedly, it is unfortunate that the club cannot pay them accordingly for the simple reason that there is no money,” explained a source.
However, Same confirmed to this publication that Selibe Phikwe based business magnate, China Mading has however been coming to the club’s rescue a number of times with transport. “We no longer have any funds to finance our logistics, just last week Former Satmos mentor China Mading came to our rescue at the 11th hour and provided his minibus freely for the club to honour the fixtures,” Same said.
Information gathered by Weekend Sport three weeks ago revealed that Majombolo is also wooing Mading for a more commanding spot in the dressing room. Nico United Communications & Marketing Manager Mogomotsi Orapeleng told this publication that the assistance of the former goalkeeper and now local football icon has done the club good thus far. “Yes he has been and is continuing to help us with transport and logistics as well as other administrative matters,” he said.
Apart from the helping hand of their former legendary goal keeper Nico united has been relying on contributions from their Gaborone based supporters and Phikwe originals under the coordination of Vusa Ziga ,a local shrewd football analyst and sport administrator who extend an administrative helping hand to the club from time to time. “Sometime when we reach a dead end with hotel bookings for our games down south, our Gaborone based supporters and members come to the rescue with contributions and connections with hospitality service providers that side,” revealed a source.
Information gathered by this publication also revealed that a Gaborone based investor had expressed interest in injecting capital into the club, but members rejected him as he wanted to relocate the team to Gaborone. “Our financial troubles makes us vulnerable to vultures who want to take advantage of us, the investor wanted to use us for a status in the lucrative multi Million pula BTC Premier league ,but our members, being the registered fans rejected him,” added the source who preferred anonymity.
CLUB WANTS TO MEET SPEDU & LINAH MHOHLO
According to Same they have taken a resolution to find ways to Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) for assistance. Same also told Weekend Sport that they are in the process of requesting Phikwe Economic Revitalization Strategy coordinator Linah Mohohlo‘s audience. “Sport and football presents tourism in the first place, and then small business flourishes under football events, thus we want SPEDU and Linah Mhohlo to use us to keep the town alive.”
A source from Nico United administrative corridors also told this publication that SPEDU can even assist them with finances since they sponsored a golf tournament to a tune of P100 000 earlier this year. “We feel SPEDU can come to our rescue, we will engage them as soon as January next year , if they can’t help us financially then one way or the other they have the acumen to assist us, we want them to organize us a meeting with Linah Mhohlo,” a Nico United administrator revealed. “We are of the view that Sports and football can complement Phikwe rebirth efforts through events tourism and keeping the town alive while economic resuscitation is in process.”
Established in 1969 Nico United is an association sporting club formed by BCL Miners, The team rejoined the Botswana Premier League for the 2004-05 season after spending the 2003-04 season playing in the second level, First Division-North, and has since then maintained their stay in the Premier league. The club launched a new technical sponsor in Pedigree Sportswear to dress the team amid financial crises. Nico United sits at position 9 in the BTC Premier league with 15 points and last week suffered a 3 nil defeat against Security Systems.
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