Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What went wrong at the Reds?

When Gaborone United (GU) won the Be MOBILE Premier League during the 2008/2009 season, they were regarded as the most professionally-run club in the country.

Every player wanted to be part of the Reds’ success.

Even their supporters, happily clad in their red and white replicas, were easily noticed at the stadiums.

Since then, GU’s performance continues to decline and they have gone back to the days when they played second fiddle to the likes of Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

It all started when Kagiso Sebele resigned as the club’s secretary last year after he challenged some of the decisions which were taken without him being consulted.

Then team manager, Tebogo Kgosietsile, was replaced by Otukile Ruele; this did not help the situation as some players were said to be uncomfortable with his leadership skills.

The departure of the two officials divided the GU community as they were seen as some of the people who ensured that GU tasted glory in 2009. Internal bickering among the committee members this season reportedly further fuelled the situation.

Recently, GU elder, Gertrude Selolwane, and former captain, Gofhamodimo ‘City’ Senne, were called in to address players as they were said not to be listening to the leadership.

Before the decision to call Selolwane and Senne, the situation is said to have been worse as some players brought liquor to the camp on the eve of games whilst other disrespected the manager.

According to the sources, these events show that the club’s leadership has lost it and fresh blood is needed. This week, Sunday Standard learnt that there are some people who intend to topple the current committee members at the next assembly.

The group is said to be led by one of the former GU chairmen who is reportedly unimpressed with the said instability at the club. GU failed to hold their general meeting early this year and some supporters within the GU family are complaining that nothing was communicated to them to that effect.

“The problem with GU is the management. When the club was successful, most people thought running GU was easy and they wanted to be part of the committee. Now because they’re in there, they can’t carry out their duties. It takes a lot to be a committee member or even a chairman,” said an ex-member of the GU committee.

GU vice-chairman, Babatshe Paphane, said a lot has happened since they won the league championship two years ago. He pointed out that inconsistency in the coaching post has been the main downfall but made assurances that plans are underway to rectify that.

He said that if David Bright had stayed with them during this campaign, they would be saying a different story. Bright had to go back to South Africa where he is in charge of First Division side Bay United.

Paphane dismissed reports that some of the committee members are not doing enough for the club, saying that people must understand that they volunteer to be in the committee.

“Sometimes you find out that we’re engaged at our day to day jobs. Being held up somewhere does not mean you do not have the club’s interests at heart. I must also make it clear that there is no instability at GU, like in any environment, we do have our own differences,” he said.

The GU boss hinted that they failed to convene the February general assembly because the Reds were going through a transition.

“It would have been irresponsible of us to call a meeting when there were some issues left behind. We were mandated by the supporters to turn GU into a business entity and we have achieved that. What is important for people to know is that being a member of GU now means a lot and I wish to challenge other clubs to follow suit,” he said.

Paphane said his committee is willing to give way to those people who feel that they can take GU forward. He said that as staunch GU followers, they cannot refuse to hand over the baton as they have the club’s interests at heart.

“If there are those willing to contest for a place in GU office, they must come into the open and declare their interests. We’ve done what we have been mandated to do,” he said.

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