The boardroom squabbles currently engulfing Gaborone United make for a compelling drama. GU squabbles have since escalated as internal power struggles moved from the boardroom to the field of play and the supporters in the stands.
Since the beginning of October, GU has played seven games, winning only one, drawing one and losing the rest. The team’s last win came during their league meeting with struggling BR Highlanders, before they were dumped out of the Mascom Top 8 by BDF XI. Following their dismal performance in the second leg of the Mascom Top 8 tournament, which culminated in their ousting from the lucrative tournament, a fracas ensued between the teams’ supporters as some accused others of sabotaging their own team.
According to those who witnessed the incident at Molepolole Sports Complex, one section of the team supporters were not amused that another section celebrated when GU lost their encounter with BDF XI.
“The so called concerned group accused us of bewitching the team. They also accused some of the team elders of acting like the team belongs to them, something which is ridiculous and irresponsible,” a source close to the events explained.
The source also admitted that the current power play between the two sides is a major contributor to the team’s poor performances on the field of play.
“What is surprising is that unlike Township Rollers who are locked in a much messier fight than ours, the current power struggle between us and the executive committee seems to have passed on to the field of play. It has also moved to the stands as evidenced by the unsavory scenes after our game with BDF XI this past weekend. We may find ourselves in physical altercations very soon,” added the source.
While no member of the executive was involved in the war of words, many within local football circles believe the fracas is indicative of the polarity of the team’s support base due to the ongoing power struggles.
However, Chairman of the GU Executive Committee, Rapula Okaile believes it is still too early to press panic buttons, despite the on and off field problems besieging the city’s football giants. Speaking in an interview, Okaile did not deny that signs that the team is going through a rough patch are evident both on and off the field, but said they still have enough time to address their problems.
The GU Chairman revealed that the team’s executive has held several meetings with individual players to try and address the issue of performance, adding that they will soon address the players as a collective. Okaile said while talks with players are still ongoing, the committee is hopeful that a solution for the on field problems will be found. With regards to the tensions between the team’s support base, the GU Chairperson said his belief is that once positive results come, the tension will ease off. “We need to start winning our games to diffuse the tension between our supporters, that is the solution to the supporters’ problem,” Okaile said. Concerning the power struggles besieging the club, the GU Chairperson said the solution does not seem anywhere near at the moment. According to Okaile, with both the executive and the concerned group failing to find a common ground, only the courts can now solve the problem. “As long as the concerned group demands that we resign from the Executive Committee, the only solution will be through the courts of law,” the GU Chairperson explained. He said as such, it is beyond the capability of the current executive committee to determine how long it will take before a permanent solution to the current power struggle can be found.