Sunday, July 5, 2020

Gaborone United mysteriously fires coach again

It came as a shock to many Gaborone United supporters this past week upon learning that their promising coach, Zimbabwean Look Masomere, will no longer be with the team this coming season. Official word from the team is that Masomere could not agree on the terms and conditions of the new contract with the team. However, The Sunday Standard has just established that Masomere was just fired and negotiations for the new contract never took place. The Sunday Standard has learned that Masomere was just given a letter of dismissal by the team chairman, Kelisitse Gilika, and another senior team official. The surprised Masomere is reported to have just received the letter and did not question the authority of the team officials. The decision to fire Masomere is also alleged to have not been authorised by the executive committee of the team but by Gilika. Some senior team officials are also reported to be furious at the way Masomere’s issue was handled.

One team official who preferred anonymity, told The Sunday Standard that Masomere indeed was fired without being given time to re-negotiate his contract. The official also added that some GU officials are just using the contract renewal issue just as a cover up for their misdeeds.

“It is definitely not true that Masomere could not agree terms of his new contract with the team and I suspect there is more to that. These guys are just using the contract issue just a mask. What is surprising is that the officials knew a long time ago that Masomere’s contract was up for renewal and why they kept quite until the last minute is a mystery. Obviously they still wanted to show him the door. Even the timing of his dismissal raises a lot of eyebrows; and even a blind person could see what is really going on with this team,” the official said.

The official said if the coaching issue is not attended to with immediate effect, it would take GU ages to win silverware. The official said Masomere brought good players with him and they might even follow him where ever he goes. Upon his arrival at GU, Masomere brought with himself his fellow three country men namely Sageby Sandaka, Itayi Gwandu and Edmore Mufema. It was, however, Sandaka who got a lot of attention because he set the Mascom Premier League on fire. Despite arriving in the beginning of the second round he managed to score vital goals and ended as one of the leading goal scorers.

Masomere, on the other hand, did not want to indulge himself into the issue. He told The Sunday Standard that GU is history in his life and he needed to consider other options on the table. He also said he did not want a situation whereby he is seen as a bitter person.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank GU for the chance they gave me. I left the team under circumstances where by any coach could. I left the team not necessarily meaning that I had running battles with the team but I left peacefully,” he said. When asked whether he ever sat down with the management for a new contract, Masomere refused to comment. Butt he expressed regret because he was still building a team which he had a belief could win silverware this season.

On the other hand, the GU chairman quashed allegations that they have never had discussions with Masomere. Gilika told The Sunday Standard that they have long been discussing the new contract with Masomere but could not agree on certain things and thus ending up not renewing his contract. On why they waited for a long time until only before the beginning of the season, Gilika said he had hoped that the coach could stay and agree on a new contract.

“Masomere was not fired, but his contract was not renewed. We did not just wake up and fire Masomere. We had been in discussions for quite some time and it is unfortunate he has left,” Gilika said.

When Masomere joined GU last year, the team was in an uncomfortable position but he led it to an unprecedented fourth position in the league.

Masomere’s predecessor, Mwaanga, was also fired under mysterious circumstances. While he was still building the team, he was told his services were no longer needed despite the short stint he stayed at the club. At the time Mwaanga left, GU were playing carpet entertaining football. Mwaanga always said he needed quality players which he did not have compared to Masomere.

Also just before Masomere left another influential player, Mosalagae Gaborone, left the team, also under unclear circumstances. The official word from the team was that he did not feature in the coach’s plans something Gaborone denied. Other sources at the team stressed that Gaborone was forced to leave because he was not in good books with one of the officials and ended up being told to leave. What was also astonishing about Gaborone was that he played in more than half of the team’s games.

Masomere’s departure has also, once again, put the team under the spotlight. The team is now known as a ‘hire and fire machine.’

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.