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Trouble brewing at GU

Zarkhem accused of running the team alone

The titanic is about to hit the iceberg at Gaborone United. The team, which has been hailed by many as a shining example of football commercialisation is engulfed by damning revelations that Soccer Dynamics Pty Ltd is running the team alone at the expense of the society.


The team is divided, with Soccer Dynamics as the commercial wing headed by businessman Nicholas Zarkhem owning 51% shares while Gaborone United Sporting Club (Society) have the remaining 49%.The bone of contention by the society is that the company is flouting the club’s constitution by taking decisions on its own thus rendering the other half useless. This has not gone down well with some supporters as they believe that their team is being “taken from under their hands.”


Information presented to Weekend Sport paints a picture of a team battling internal battles behind the fascia, and indeed confirming that not all that glitters is gold. According to insiders, raging fires within the Old Naledi team started at the team’s AGM where the committee elections were surrounded by a lot of “irregularities”.

The concerned fans accuse Zarkhem for “being big headed and bigger than the team” as a result willing to pull the strings solely “because he helped the team in times of need.” Zarkhem who owns a construction company has been with the club for many years.   

   
The supporters, which many believe are members of the executive committee which was white washed in the July elections, are reportedly contemplating a court move to seek assistance on how to best run the team.

Among some grievances of the society is the accusations that Soccer Dynamics has taken control of all the transactions of the club and even the acquisition of players are said to be done single-handedly. Coach Allen Rahman Gumbo’s contract is said to have been renewed amid the obliviousness of committee members who were busy looking for a mentor as per their agreement.

The concerned party argues that the society has input on the affairs of the club as they inject money in the team after acquiring the lucrative Mutual and Federal sponsorship, sell team merchandise and also make revenue through gate-takings and as a result they shouldn’t be rendered useless. To this effect they believe there should be equality in running of the team without considering the share ownership.


The unhappy lot would want the court to clearly define the roles of each party so they abide by the constitution. However soccer analyst Molatlhegi “Octopus” Mangole says the commercialisation process in Botswana was not well prepared for.

“We are preaching commercialisation but we don’t have a template which teams should follow, so these things are bound to happen if anyone who has financial muscle can control the teams. We are aware that many teams that were commercialised have been in the same scenario, so BFA must create a model to help the poor teams.” Notwane, BMC and Township Rollers have all been inside the court room over the privatisation and authority issues at the teams.


When this publication contacted the new chairman Rapula Okailwe for comment, could only say, “We are still deliberating on the matter so it will be better if we can solve it internally and then we come back to you.” As efforts to douse the raging fires, the team is considering solving it within the internal structures, but with the issue understood to be a hot potato it won’t be easy to reach an agreement unless it is short term measure.


While plans to solve the issue in-house seriously is touted by the team committee to avoid tarnishing their names by fighting their issues in courts, Zarkhem is nonetheless reportedly not ready to let anything loose as he is said to have threatened the supporters at the AGM that he might pull off his financial assistance if the members don’t vote his lieutenants to office. Efforts to get comment from soccer dynamics on the matter where futile as their mobile phones didn’t go through.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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Sport

P50 000 to expatriate Rollers players

14th September 2020
FRANCIS AFRIYIE

Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.

The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.

Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.

The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.

The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.

He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.

Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.

However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.

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Sport

Leopards dump jilted Tsotso

7th September 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOTSO NGELE

Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.

WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.

Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.

He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.

The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.

The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.

When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.

But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.

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