One of the popular local teams, Gaborone United (GU), has made remarkable achievement since re-appearing in the elite league three seasons ago.
The team spent five seasons in the dusty First Division and, at some stage, people were wondering whether it would come back.
But since coming back, they have truly lived up to expectations because this season they finished as the runners up.
Last season, on the other hand, they finished in a remarkable fourth position. Just before finishing second position this season, sponsorships started to pour in for the team that was once known as ‘The Money Machine’.
They set a trend that was never seen in local football by clinching three sponsorships that ran concurrently. Also, after the end of last season, GU also became the first team in Botswana to hold awards. The three sponsorships totaled more than P600 000 a year.
At first, they were two sponsors, Zac Construction and STC Cleaning Chemicals.
ZAC Construction splashed P70 000 while STC gave P180 000 to the team. As if that was not enough, another company, called Chemical Industries Botswana, came on board with an annual P180 000 prize money.
Despite the team’s good performance for the past two seasons, there are reports doing the rounds that two of the sponsors (known to this paper) have pulled out.
The Sunday Standard is reliably informed that the sponsors are not happy at the way certain things are done at the club.
“In every sponsorship deal, there are some technicalities involved. And it seems GU has not met some of those technicalities with their sponsorships and that’s why they pulled out. This can definitely be a blow to the team that is surely going back to its glorious days,” said an insider at the team.
The GU chairman, Kelisitse Gilika, has refuted the rumours. He said the rumours are just meant to destabilise the already stable team.
“It is definitely not true that we have lost two sponsors and it is just fabrications meant to destabilise the team. Instead of celebrating the good run of the team achieved this year, some people just go out and spread lies. Since gaining promotion, this team has been performing well and is on its way to winning its first league title in many years. The team is performing well because of the three-year plan we had when the current management took the reins and all is well at the team,” he said.
The only problem area for GU is to re-call hundreds of their supporters who are yet to fill the team’s stands. The supporters have been coming in small numbers compared to the days when they were about to be relegated.
The situation is worse for the team once it loses two games in succession.