When business tycoon Nicholas Zackhem took over at GU some years ago, his main dream was to have the team take control of Botswana football like they used to do in the 1990s. He wanted to see the Reds’ fans filling the stadiums in large numbers to cheer on their heroes. It was in May 2009 when that dream seemed to come right when the late Joseph Phetogo captained GU to glory. At the time, a committed GU did it the hard way when they had to lift the trophy on the last day of the campaign- beating their foes Chiefs 1-0 through a Wellington Maposa strike.
Since then it has been the same old story for the Reds- so near yet so far. When this season kicked off, GU fans have once again come with high hopes. But the Reds have not been convincing in the opening four games of the season. Even the key players like Jackie Mothatego, Tebogo Sembowa and Mandla Mgadla have failed to come to the party- at least to this date. This has seen the trio being dropped from the national team.
According to a former GU players who did not want to be named, the current squad lacks players who know the culture of the club. “When we used to play for GU we knew the importance of wearing that kit. We fought to make the supporters happy hence we won lots of silverware. I want to believe that the current players are only interested in getting paid at the end of the month. Even their body language when they walk into the field you can see that something is amiss,” said the former player.
In their last game against ECCO City Greens in Molepolole, GU surrendered a 2-0 lead to end up sharing the spoils. This left their supporters including Zackhem with a bitter pill to swallow. “Honestly, there is no need for panic. We’re not far away from the log leaders (Chiefs). The results will come and what is important is for our supporters to continue rallying behind the team,” said GU secretary Herbert Letsebe.
According to football pundits, GU have been let down by their signing policy in the past couple of seasons hence they are struggling to challenge for League honours. “Yes we erred in a way when it comes to signing players but you need to understand that we brought some of the players on the recommendation of coaches. I’ll not agree with those saying that we’ve never had a strong side since winning the League in 2009. I believe that the team we had in 2012 was the best compared to the one of five years ago hence we won Mascom Top 8,” Letsebe said.
Football commentators have also attributed the Reds’ inconsistency to the continued firing and hiring of coaches.
But GU official said that football is a results oriented game so there was no way they were going to fold their hands when certain coaches were not performing.
In five seasons, the Reds have been under the care of six coaches something which many believe see as the main thing derailing progress.
“It is unfortunate that the man we believed will take this club had to be recalled by his employers. If we were still under Rasta (Letang Kgengwenyane believe me this club would be far because we shared the same vision. But I have no doubt that Rahman Gumbo will turn the turn the tables around. Gumbo is a true professional who knows how to get the best out of his players,” he said. This afternoon, GU welcome rookies Sankoyo Bush Bucks at Molepolole Stadium.