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By Godfrey Mowaneng
Whoever came up with the idiom ‘It never rains But it pours’ should have had Lobatse giants Extension Gunners in mind.
In a week that saw team players down tools, the financially troubled Peleng outfit misery continued as the Industrial Court of the Republic of Botswana ordered that they settle the debt owed to former coach Keitumetse ‘Pio’Paul by mid next year.
Following a long running court feud over pending payments between the team and its former coach, the Industrial Court this past week ordered the club pay Paul monies amounting to P70, 000.00.
According to the ruling, Gunners will have to pay Paul the said amount in instalments over the next seven consecutive months.
The ruling, which pushes Gunners further deep down in the red, comes after Paul dragged his former employers to court for what he deemed unfair dismissal when the two parties parted ways.
While the club lost the unfair dismissal case at the Broadhurst Magistrate court in 2016, the team still failed to settle the debt, leading to the arrest of the club’s late former chairman Phenyo Gothaang and team manager Kitso Bulang who were later released on bail conditions.
According to the court order which is dated 5th December 2018, “it is ordered that the garnishee application succeeds and an order granted in terms of the draft order filed on 14th September 2018. The judgment debtor pays the judgment creditor in monthly instalments, the sum of P10, 000.00 (Ten Thousand Pula) from the date of this order until the amount of the P70, 000.00 (Seventy Thousand Pula) is fully and finally paid.”
The order also comes at a time when the club is facing another litigation, this time from another former coach Daniel ‘Chicco’ Nare, who is said to be owed at least P100 000 in unsettled loans to the team.
Adding to Gunner’s woes, the team is also said to owe its players thousands of pulas in unpaid salaries. The debt has already started causing friction between the team and players, with the latter even resorting to boycotting training sessions to force the management to pay them their salaries.
“The club is seriously struggling financially; it has been months of empty promises as players never get their salaries as per contracts. It is worse that the club is also facing many debts that need to be covered despite financial challenges. Players demanded their salaries this week and boycotted training, also the Paul case is pressing and need to be attended as ordered,” a source told Sunday Standard.
Reached for comment, Gunners spokesperson Willoughby Kemoeng acknowledged that the club is struggling and they are working hard to clear all debts and revitalise the club.
“We have been struggling to find sponsors to cushion our financial crisis. The executive committee this week assembled to map a way forward to normalise the club’s situation,” Kemoeng explained.
“We have also appraised our supporters on the matter and fortunately for us, they are willing to come together throughout braches countrywide to help us generate funds that will assist the club,” he said.
Concerning Paul’s debt, Kemoeng said he is optimistic that it will be settled as per the court order, adding that aside from Paul, they also intend to clear all the other debts accrued over the years.