Lobatse side Extension Gunners is undoubtedly a team sitting on a gold mine. Mapantsula has a rich history and is one of the most supported teams in the country. Despite many trophyless seasons, Gunners supporters have remained loyal to their team. Gunners was an untouchable side in the early 1990s as they won almost every trophy on offer. They won league championships for a record three times in a row in 1992, ‘93 and ‘94. In 1992 they also won the then lucrative Coca Cola tournament (the local version of FA Cup). Since then the team has been blowing hot and cold, in some years escaping the dreaded relegation axe by a whisker. This year is no exception as they started the league on a wrong footing. If they don’t pull up their socks, Gunners will no doubt find themselves fighting relegation this season. The team’s management is currently embroiled in legal disputes with former coach, Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul who says he was unfairly dismissed.
Last season, Gunners management was embroiled in a bitter power struggle that resulted in sponsor and long time supporter Cassim Dada walking away in disgust. It must be borne in mind that the Dada family, which includes the likes of Rashid Chopdat, was at the helm of the team when it was untouchable during its glory years in the early 1990s. At the time, Gunners even flew the Botswana flag high on the African continent as they competed against some of Africa’s power houses such as South African football giant Kaizer Chiefs and AS VITA of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those glory days are now long gone and, by the look of things, Gunners’ problems look to be far from over.
Football analyst Mont Gagomokgwa believes Gunners will only go back to its glory days if it amasses a lot of money as it did before.
“Let’s face reality, Gunners used to be associated with people who had money and did all they could to bring success at the team. Remember that Gunners got any player they wanted in the country and that is why they won the league for three successive seasons, a feat that most teams are finding difficult to emulate,” he said. Gagomokgwa added that regardless of the differences the team management might have with potential investors, they have to sit down and find an amicable solution. He said it is very painful to see a big team like Gunners going through its current problems.
“The painful thing about Gunners is that it is one of those teams that enjoy a lot of support in the country. As such it should be easy for them to attract investors and even make more money from gate takings and merchandise,” he said.