When Top Piet announced in January that he was not going to renew his contract with Nico United when his three-year term came to an end in June, bigger clubs in the southern part of country started knocking on his door.
His mobile-phone rang time and again with club bosses trying to lure him to their camp but he played his cards close to his chest. Champions Township Rollers, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, BDF XI and Gaborone United were seen as the front-runners to capture his signature simply because they had fat cheque books.
The name of Gunners never came into the picture as they were struggling to make ends meet in the recent years. While those close to Piet mentioned that Gunners are in with a chance to secure his services, bookmakers dismissed it as merely a dream by Gunners’ supporters.
The arrival of the Dada and Ismail families as financial backers for the club shifted the goalposts as it meant that Gunners came in as the last-minute challengers for his signatures.
In the end, Piet signed a two-year contract on the dotted line for Mapantsula, leaving other interested parties with egg on their faces.
While other clubs were left disappointed, Gunners’ supporters danced up and down in joy. His arrival at Gunners saw social networks going viral.
As he prepares to play in the biggest club game of his career against England League One side Bristol City at the National Stadium tomorrow afternoon, Piet said he is ready for his new challenge.
“The game against Bristol City is without doubt the biggest of my career and it is in such games where one needs to be at his best. It will be my first game in front of our supporters and I intend to do my best. Yes, there will be lots of expectations especially from the new signings but I’m not going to put myself under unnecessary pressure,” Piet told this publication in Jwaneng ahead of their friendly game against Galaxy FC on Thursday afternoon.
Asked why he chose Gunners ahead of other clubs, Piet said, “their offer was good and I felt that it is at Gunners where I’m going to have more game time. I didn’t want to join a team where I’ll be frustrated sitting on the bench. I’m not saying at Gunners the starting berth is guaranteed but I know I’m going to enjoy myself here. With the club having signed new players the future looks bright and I have no doubt that we’ll compete strongly.”
There is no secret that Nico United showed interest in renewing his contract but Piet said it was going to be difficult for him to remain in the copper-nickel town of Selebi Phikwe.
He pointed out that his family had the biggest influence on his move. The 25-year-old winger said his mother has not been well for some time and it is important to be nearer to her.
“The most touching thing is that when I lost my sister (last year) it was difficult for me to be there for her because of the distance. I kept on postponing visiting her in hospital until I lost her,” he said.
Piet added that he has enjoyed his career at Majombolo since joining them from Killer Giants almost four years ago.
“I’ve had a good time at Nico United and I’ve no doubt that I’ll always be welcome at the club. I’ve given my all during my time but circumstances beyond my control forced me to relocate,” he said.
Gunners’ official, Cassim Dada, said that as a club they are happy to have landed a player of Piet’s calibre. He said since Gunners have always enjoyed attacking their opposition using their wings, Piet will suit their style.
“He is a high-profile player hence our supporters are excited by his arrival. He is going to help us in attack more especially that he is capable of scoring goals. We also wanted to sign Segolame Boy (from Miscellaneous) but he was clear that he wanted to join Rollers. But having Piet on board is something we’re more than excited about,” said Dada.
Piet has been handed his favourite jersey number six which he will wear for the next two seasons.
Meanwhile, Gunners have also announced the signing of defenders, Isaac Paeye (Notwane), Tshepo Maikano (BMC) and goalkeeper Lame Tladinyana (Mochudi Centre Chiefs).
Former Gaborone United striker Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping has been training with the club for a week and he is likely to be signed.
“The technical team has showed an interest on Jomo but we’re still to sit down with him to negotiate personal terms. We’ll definitely want to have him in our club as he is an experienced striker. Hopefully in the coming week everything would be sorted,” said Dada.