Thursday, May 6, 2021

Drago takes charge as Gumbo exits

The coaching merry go round has finally caught up with Gaborone United (GU) as the team parted ways with coach Allen Gumbo this past Thursday. Technical Director Dragjilo Stanojlovic has reportedly taken over as Head Coach.

While details are still sketchy at the moment, reports indicate that ‘Drago,’ as the affable Serbian gaffer is popularly known, will be joined in the GU dugout by Oris Boyo Radipotsane as Assistant. The appointment of the well travelled Stanojlovic as Head Coach puts to rest rumours that have been doing the rounds that Gumbo’s fate was sealed when Drago was appointed Technical Director.

While the GU top brass has always maintained that Gumbo’s job was safe, pundits and writers alike have consistently said the Zimbabwean gaffer’s days at GU were numbered. Rumours of Gumbo’s impending exit gained momentum when Drago was roped in to take charge during the game against Miscellaneous. At the time, GU was on a four game winless streak and Gumbo was said to have gone home for family business. After helping GU to break its winless streak, Drago was then permanently roped in to sit with Gumbo on the technical bench, and GU went on a four games winning streak. While there were no visible cracks on the relationship between Gumbo and Stanojlovic, rumors were rife that Gumbo was not happy with the arrangement. According to sources closer to GU, Gumbo had always felt ill at ease with the appointment of a Technical Director and he never wanted to work with what many considered his supervisor nor with the Technical Team that had been appointed to help the team. According to a source, things went sour when GU lost its past two games and a decision was taken that both parties should part ways.

“The management realized that Gumbo was not willing to work with other people appointed to help him. The two parties then had a meeting where they both decided to part ways,” the source explained.

Reached for comment, Gaborone United (GU) Chairperson Rapula Okaile denied that his executive committee’s appointment of Stanojlovic as Technical Director was a sign that they wanted to get rid of Gumbo.

“We know it is a trend in Botswana that once a Technical Director is employed, the Head Coach is on his way out. However, when we roped in Stanojlovic, we as the GU executive committee had no intention of parting ways with Gumbo. I know this will be taken with a pinch of salt because Stanojlovic is now in charge, but we genuinely wanted it to work. At first we thought it was working out as the two coaches brought results, but our belief was short lived as we have since parted ways with our coach,” Okaile explained.  Asked what inspired the GU leadership to take the two coaches route, the GU Chairperson said their decision was borne of belief that the two coaches working together could deliver results.

He said even before Stanojlovic was deployed to sit along Gumbo on the bench, the two were working together, with Stanojlovic doing most of the spying and opposition analysis.

“As GU, we believed we had two high pedigree coaches from whom we could benefit if they worked together in tandem. Both have different qualities and we thought it would be best if they sat on the bench together and shared tactics at close proximity,” the GU Chairperson explained. As to who initiated the breakup, the GU chairman maintained both parties believed it would be best to go their separate ways. On how long Stanojlovic will be in charge and whether a new coach will be coming in, Okaile said the length of Drago’s stay at the helm has not been determined as yet. He however maintained that the former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners coach will lead the club while the executive ponders on which way to take. The GU Chairperson could however not rule out the possibility of Stanojlovic taking over the club permanently.

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