It never rains but pours for the local Premier League teams. The multimillion pula sponsorship bankrolled by a cellular company, be-mobile, might have started with a bang, but it has since emerged that the teams are in dire financial straits.
It has been worse for the past two weeks and some players downed their tools, demanding their salaries before they could play.
Other teams’ players are reportedly playing under protest, thus not putting enough effort.
The teams that are terribly affected are Notwane, Tafic and Nico. Surprisingly, Gunners are reported to have also been affected and it was evident in their game against Notwane when they played to a one-all draw.
In the game, Gunners were missing the services of their two Burundian internationals, Aime Nzohabonayo and Christopher Ndavishimne. The two are reported to have refused to play against Notwane until they are paid money owed to them. It is not clear how much the internationals are owed since they arrived in the country just about three months ago. What boggles Gunners supporters’ minds is the fact that Gunners recently landed sponsorship worth P180 000 from Chemical Industries Botswana.
Against Notwane, Gunners coach, Chicco Dance Nare, had no choice but to use still unfit Monametsi ‘Sunday’ Kelebale and Zambian international, System Mubi. The duo could not convert clear cut chances and Gunners were only rewarded courtesy of an own goal by Notwane midfielder, Skizo Kowa.
The two Burundians have been revelations in past Gunners games, scoring vital goals and many team supporters are praying for the situation to be put to rest with immediate effect. The memorable games the two rescued Gunners from were against BDF XI, Nico and Township Rollers.
Nzohabonayo scored against Nico and Rollers in games Gunners won 1-0 and drew by a goal apiece, respectively.
Ndavishimne, on the other hand, was the one who rescued Gunners in a goal victory against BDF XI.
A source close to Gunners, who preferred anonymity, was also at pains describing the situation of the two players. He said that the two players have now gone for two months without their salaries and so had no choice but to stay at home.
“We all thought that everything was taking shape at the team but now comes all this boycotting of the game. I’m telling you, had those guys played, we could have easily won the game against Notwane. But what I can tell you is that the guys have gone for some time without pay and it is something the team should stand up for or else we will struggle once again this season,” the source said.
Efforts to solicit comment from Gunners were futile at press time.
Last weekend, Notwane had their backbone of the team and national team players boycotting a game against Gunners, demanding their outstanding salaries reportedly dating back about five months.
The concerned players are Dirang Moloi, Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Jackie Mothatego and Tebogo Sembowa.
Notwane is reportedly vowing to take stern action against the players because there are rumours that they wanted to influence others to boycott the game.
In the case of Moloi, it is not the first time he boycotted a game for financial reasons. He has even boycotted training sessions and only appeared after being paid.