The return of the Reds has raised eyebrows as the soccer fraternity wonders what could have led to their non-participation in the previous year. What made them change their minds this time around?
As the questions flow in, GU secretary general Herbert Letsebe says that in the past year it was a question of principle and nothing else.
“We had an agreement with other clubs (Township Rollers, Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs) that we’re not going to take part in the tournament last year as there were a number of things which we were not happy about. But other clubs decided to change their decision and went on to take part. As a club we had already taken a stand hence we stayed away. But I must make it clear that we’ve sorted out our differences and as a club we’re happy to contribute towards this noble initiative. At the end of the day it’s all in the name of charity,” said Letsebe on Friday morning.
He further pointed out that missing out on the event which was won by Chiefs at Lobatse Stadium last year, they denied their supporters a chance to have a full glance at their side before the season kicked off.
“As much as we took the decision as the executive, we denied our supporters to have a look at their side. This time around they’ll have an opportunity to assess their players. I have no doubt that we’ll go out there and compete. As much as these games are for charity, our main objective is to go out there to win the tournament,” Letsebe added. When they walk into the National Stadium turf on Saturday morning, the Reds are likely to be without four of their key players: Edwin Olerile, Jackie Mothatego, Mandla Mgadla and Karabo Phiri who have been with the national team preparing for the second leg of the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifier away to Guinea-Bissau on Saturday.
“We’re not worried about the absence of the players who are with the national team. We’re looking at it as a blessing because the coach (Rahman Gumbo) will be able to have a look at the rest of the players in the squad. It will be able to prove to us if we have depth,” said Letsebe.
In the absence of the quartet when the Reds have proved when they faced Platinum Stars on a fortnight ago that they have quality to battle.
It is expected that the likes of Tebogo Sembowa, Ronald Chikomo and Tendai Nyamadzabo will lead the attack.
At the time of going to press, GU were busy trying to make their former idol Dipsy Selolwane available for the pre-season tournament.
GU have spent the past week at the High Performance Centre in Potchefstroom, South Africa as they continue their efforts to keep the team in shape. They only returned home on Saturday after playing some friendly games there.
“It was ideal for us to take the team there because we realized that their fitness level has not reached the expectations of the technical team. Having spent time under some high-qualified specialists at the centre, the players have been able to reach the required fitness levels,” Letsebe said.
Meanwhile, defending champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Township Rollers, Gaborone United and Extension Gunners will battle out in a day long Kabelano Charity Cup on Saturday. The gates will open at 7am and tickets are selling at Choppies Stores.