Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Another disappointing season for the big two?

The late Zoom Ndlovu and Edwin Kanyantta might be turning in their graves while Freddie Mwila might be having endless heart attacks wherever he is.

Ndlovu had impeccable success at Extension Gunners and achieved what might even take a century for others to match. During those glory years when Gunners won the league championships three times in a row, the man who was the leading figure was none other than Ndlovu himself.

Gunners won the league in 1992, 93 and 94. In 1994 they even won the double when they took the inaugural Coca-Cola Cup as well.

Since 1994, Gunners are yet to win a major trophy, either league or the Coca-Cola Cup.

On the other hand, Rollers were a super team in the years 1993, 94, 95 and 96 when Mwila and Kanyantta called the shots from the bench. Mwila was triumphant in 1993 and 94 when Rollers won consecutive Coca Cola trophies.
In 1995, when the Coca-Cola Cup slipped through their fingers after being knocked out by BDF in the last 16 in 1995, the team consolidated itself and went on to win the league that had then taken them sometime to lift.

It was then Kanyantta who also went on to win the Coca-Cola trophy in 1996, meaning that Rollers won it three times in four years.

Those were the years and what is left now for the team is history that is difficult to repeat itself.

At least Rollers managed to make a bit of a comeback in 2005 when they won both the league and the Coca Cola Cup. It was so special for the team because they were just coming from the dusty First Division. After that, people thought Rollers were reverting back to their old glorious years and that the other two big teams, Gaborone United (GU) and Gunners, would be left for dead.

Currently, GU seems to be rising while the big two are huffing and puffing almost every season.

Rollers are the team that is surprising because for the past two seasons, they have been making big signings and there was hope they will keep on conquering everything that come their way.

It is now getting clear by the day that the title race is slowly slipping from their hands and it is Mochudi Centre Chiefs and GU who are the main contenders.

For Gunners, it became clear towards the end of the first round that they would rather battle it out for the top four and now it looks like that might be just a pipe dream as well. The 5-0 humiliation by Ecco City last weekend was embarrassing, especially for a man who achieved a lot during his playing days and coached by Ndlovu.

Expectations were high for Daniel Nare’s team before the beginning of the season. Pundits thought that they would go somewhere after making some record signings, especially for two highly rated Burundian strikers.

Cracks started appearing at Gunners that all was not fine when the two Burundians reportedly boycotted games for unpaid salaries.

Also when one of them, Aime Nzohabanayo, went to represent his country for CECAFA tournament late last year, it took him more than a month to report back for duty because he was reported to be unhappy at the club.
But every time the lad puts on the black and white colours, butterflies always run in the opposition’s stomachs.

For all the fifteen years Gunners failed to win any major trophy, their supporters have always been attending games in large numbers and if the team wins at least three games in a row, the attendance even grows.

Just like Rollers who have so many supporters, it looks like it matters little to their respective teams because they do not repay their loyalty. The changing and chopping of coaches has proved, even worldwide, that it does not work, but for the two teams it seems it is a tradition.
It would not be surprising if Nare and Rahman Gumbo are shown the door.
Exactly when the two teams rediscover their magic on the pitch remains a question that might even take ages to answer.


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