It was touted as a press conference where Extension Gunners would reveal their new financial backers, but it turned out to be a completely different spectacle as the club’s supporters turned out in large numbers to witness the new partnership. On a chilly Tuesday evening, Gunners’ loyalists came out in droves, clad in black and white replicas to witness their biggest milestone announcement in years.
The supporters could not be blamed for turning out in large numbers. After all they were excited about the new developments and they were looking forward to happier days as they had seen their beloved team going through some rough patches. After struggling for years to attract big-name players due to financial constraints, Gunners finally received a major boost from the Dada and Ismail families, which set them on course to compete on an equal footing with other Premier League teams. The Dada and Ismail families pumped P2 million into the club’s coffers, to be used in the running of the club during the 2014/15 Premier League season. Amongst the supporters who filled the auditorium at Lekidi was Gunners’ veteran female supporter Goitseone Jakoba who is commonly known as “Mma-Jakes”. As she sat down inside the auditorium listening to the speeches, Mma-Jakes’ excitement was very visible. At the end of the proceedings, she hugged other supporters and celebrated with them as they welcomed the new financiers.
“These are good times for us as Gunners’ supporters. We’ve long been waiting for this day and it has finally come. It has not been easy for the club but the good thing is that we kept going. We are happy that we have people who will finance the club, but this does not mean that as supporters we should fold our hands. We need to come up with more initiatives to raise money for the club,” she said.
Mma-Jakes called for unity among Gunners supporters, saying they can bring more money into the club’s coffers if they attend games in large numbers.
“We need to be dominant during games, clad in our team colors. As Gunners’ supporters we need to be there for the club in good and bad times. The players need us to cheer them on to get positive results. If we come in large numbers, it motivates the players,” Mma-Jakes said.
Having attended almost every Gunners’ game from childhood, Mma-Jakes was disappointed that she will not see her heroes taking on Mochudi Centre Chiefs in a home match penciled for Lobatse Stadium on August 9. Gunners will play in an empty stadium as punishment for their supporters’ misbehavior during their game against Gaborone United last season. Mapantsula threw all sorts of missiles at GU fans after Kgololo Leteane scored for the visitors, prompting referee Tirelo Mositwane to stop the match for few minutes.
“It won’t be nice to miss a game of such magnitude but we deserve it. It was embarrassing to see Gunners fans misbehaving and this will serve as a wake-up call to those who resorted to hooliganism on that fateful day. As supporters we should not tolerate such behavior in future. Supporters need to understand that resorting to hooliganism will chase away potential sponsors,” she said.