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Gaborone United (GU) followers may finally breathe a sigh of relief after the team paid former player Bismark Appiah.
The payment means the team is no longer under the threat of facing FIFA sanctioned relegation from the Botswana Premier League (BPL) as the world football controlling body had threatened.
As early as August this year, the cash strapped Gaborone giants felt the wrath of FIFA as they were slapped with a US$5000 fine for failing to abide by FIFA’s ruling to pay its former Ghanaian player Bismark Appiah.
FIFA had in September 2016 ordered GU to pay the Ghanaian player an amount totalling US$39 500 (+/-P400 000) for a breach of contract.
However, following their failure to pay up, FIFA cranked up the pressure on the already debt ridden GU as they instructed them to pay Appiah within a 30 days period, beginning on 26th July 2018.
With the club failing to honour this order, the world football governing body, acting through the Botswana Football Association (BFA), docked GU three points sometime in August.
Speaking in an interview, GU spokesperson Kennedy Ramojela confirmed that Appiah’s dues were deposited at lunchtime this past Friday.
“This debt has been heavily weighing on us and we now believe this matter is finished. We have now fully paid Appiah,” Ramojela said.
According to the GU PRO, the club deposited a lump sum of US$31 475 (+/- P350 000) to the account designated for the former player.
“We had earlier in August paid him some P100 000 and the monies we sent was just to complete the payment,” he said. Concerning the FIFA fine, Ramojela said the amount was also paid in full at least two weeks ago.
Reached for comment, BFA Public Relations Officer Tumo Mpatane said the association was not yet aware GU had paid by close of business on Friday.
“We have only seen on social media the proclamations that GU had paid. We are however yet to hear anything from the team and they have not yet furnished us with any proof of payment,” Mpatane said.
“But as with everything concerning FIFA reported matters, we are also waiting for the world governing body to communicate this new development with us,” he said.
Mapatane said as the local football governing body, the BFA will be elated if the matter is concluded as it risked the reputation of both the BFA and GU.
Meanwhile, the GU PRO however said while Appiah’s debt has been cleared, the team is still knee deep in debt. He said the team owes close to P2 million.
“This debt dates as far back as 2016. However, having dealt with the urgent matter relating to Appiah, we are now working hard to get the necessary finances to pay off the debts,” he said.
Ramojela further divulged that the team management is in negotiations with some potential sponsors who he said are very keen to come on board.