When the new Extension Gunners was revealed to the football fraternity after their intense indaba, which was held in Lobatse on July 9, many people wondered who William Maboane is and how prepared he is to take the sleeping giants to their glory days.
The new Gunners’ chairman was voted in absentia as he was on a business trip to Malaysia and only arrived in the country last week. What made most people raise their heads and want to know him is that he beat well-known figure, Marshlow Motlogelwa, for the top seat.
But Maboane is not bothered by what people are saying and says that instead, he is concerned about the future of his beloved Peleng Glamour Boys.
Maboane, who hails from Moshupa and played for little known Polokwe Junior Chiefs, started supporting Gunners in the 90s when they were unstoppable.
At the time, Gunners won every cup that was available in the country hence Maboane became close to the club. Since then, he has never aligned with any side and has been a staunch member of Gunners’ Cresta supporters branch.
“Gunners’ members must have seen something special in me and I’m going to do my best not to disappoint. It’s not like I’m new in the Gunners’ set up as I’ve worked hard behind closed doors in the past years. I promise our membership that my team is going to do our best not to disappoint,” he said.
Immediately after arriving in the country on July 14, the new Gunners’ boss got down to business and linked up with his fellow committee members to map a way forward.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Standard on Thursday afternoon, Maboane said that his first assignment is to ensure that Gunners become one big family.
Of late, there have been reports that Gunners have been hit by factions despite their success in the Coca-Cola Cup. The recent elections have not helped the situation as some of the ousted committee members are said to be sabotaging the newly elected.
“I want to bring an end the factions at Gunners as I believe that anyone who is capable of contributing to the success of the club must be given a chance. We must sweat together as Gunners’ membership and take back our club to where it belongs (glory days). This is the reason that capable people like (Rashid) Chopdat and Cassim (Dada) have been brought in,” said a seemingly confident Maboane.
He pointed out that even those who were taken out of the committee during the elections can still play a pivotal role. Maboane said that he knows that at this moment some of them are still recovering from their loss and need to be given time.
“We need everyone on board and I am currently speaking to them (ousted members) and massaging their feelings. I want them to see the bigger picture and help us re-brand Gunners,” he added.
Turning to Gunners’ supporters, the boss pleaded with them to give his committee time to settle into office as they cannot turn the tables around overnight. He is optimistic that the four years they have been given to run Gunners’ office will bring the best out of them.
Maboane boasted, saying that he has the best committee that has the drive to take Mapantsula higher and higher.
“They’re a fantastic team (committee members). As much as I want us to be given time, that does not mean we’re going to sleep. Each and every member is going to contribute towards the success of the team and they’re going to report to me periodically,” he continued.
In the past years, Gunners have struggled to make their players happy as they were reported to be paid late and at times not paid.
This did not augur well with some players who at times boycotted training sessions and even some games. Things only improved in the past two years although they are still not perfect.
When midfield general Kemmy ‘Gweru’ Pilato crossed to town rivals BMC early this month, one of the reasons he cited was that Gunners still owe him. But Maboane said he is aware that for Gunners to perform to the utmost best, the players’ welfare must come first.
“For us to make Gunners unstoppable again, I believe we need to ensure that players are happy by paying them on time. I believe that my committee members are equal to the task of ensuring that. There is no doubt that this month we’re going to struggle to meet their salaries but in the future that should not be the case,” said Maboane.
He paid tribute to former chairmen Keorapetse Kgasa and Ludo Kemoeng “who have done their best under difficult situations”.
Gunners finished in the top four bracket during the 2009/2010 season and won the Coca-Cola Cup in the previous season.
According to Maboane, this means that his committee, which includes Kgasa, must work on the foundation laid over the past two seasons.
“I would also like to bring Gunners’ elders on board to hear what they think can be done going forward. The contribution of the supporters is also important and we’ll be visiting the branches soon to hear what needs to be done. Like I said, nobody is bigger than Gunners,” he added.