Since the beginning of the season in August, Gaborone United (GU) supporters have called their new Zimbabwean striker, Baloni Chiseko, all sorts of names.
The supporters have even poured scorn at the management and head coach, Elvis Chiweshe, for signing a mediocre striker ahead of gifted local strikers. Until last weekend, Chiweshe preferred Chiseko ahead of Zambian striker, Ronald Chikomo, who is a proven goalscorer, something which did not go down well with the Reds’ family.
Since arriving at the Reds, Chiseko has only netted once against BDF XI in seven games. This is a record that has led GU supporters to believe he is a mediocre striker.
Last weekend, against log leaders Mochudi Centre Chiefs at the Molepolole Sports Complex, Chiweshe bowed to the pressure of the supporters and left Chiseko and compatriot Dillion Chivandire on the stands.
Amongst football supporters and commentators, the arrival of Chiseko at GU has caused all sorts of arguments. Many believe that not only GU, but other local clubs have since the late 1990s settled for less quality when it comes to signing foreign players.
Some GU fans are of the opinion that since the days of Mandla Balanda and Marco Tshuma, the Reds have failed to lure foreign players who can set the local scene alight.
Sageby Sandaka, who is now with BMC, tried in his maiden season, only to go off the rails in the following seasons.
Information reaching Sunday Standard indicates that the GU management has bowed to pressure and will release Chiseko in January. He is likely to be replaced by Zambian striker Makundika Sakala who started training with the club this past week.
Sakala is currently in the books of Zambian giants Zanaco FC in Lusaka.
GU secretary Hebert Letsebe has admitted that they had made a mistake in signing Chiseko because he does not have the calibre they thought he had.
“When we employed the coach, we made it clear that we needed a striker, something which he also agreed on after watching our game against Police XI (last season in Molepolole). When he (coach) brought Chiseko here, we never doubted him because we’re talking about a professional here. But I must admit that he is not what we were looking for,” said Letsebe on Thursday. The GU official further pointed out that if Chiseko was indeed a good striker, he would have settled by now and scored more goals. The Sunday Standard has learnt that before coming to Botswana, Chiseko endured a spell without playing competitive football. In 2006, Chiseko played for Shooting Stars in his homeland under coach Gishon Ntini who once had a stint in Botswana.
“We’re still carrying out internal investigations (about his career before coming here) to see if it will be useful to us. Look at those guys (Zimbabwean players Elvis Meleka and Arnold Chaka) at Chiefs, I was really impressed when I saw them last weekend. That is the kind of quality we need in our football,” added Letsebe.
In a bid to save face, GU last week invited Zanaco striker Makundika Sakala for assessment. They plan to sign him during the January transfer window. He was spotted with GU official Romeo Benjamin during the league clash between Township Rollers and Mogoditshane Fighters at the UB Stadium last Sunday.
“The coach has been looking at him this week and if he impresses chances are we’ll part ways with Baloni,” hinted GU official.
Sakala is highly recommended back home and he has also represented the national team, Chipolopolo.
Zanaco signed the gangling striker from Lusaka Dynamos in 2009 as a replacement for Given Singuluma who is now playing for TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo.