Extension Gunners used to be the untouchable force of Botswana football, commanding a very large following.
They used to win at least a major trophy almost every season and were considered the most stable club in the country.
The best moments for the club were the years 1992, 93 and 94. That was when they won the league on consecutive occasions, and ’92 was even more special because they won the inaugural and lucrative Coca-Cola Cup.
The team’s fortunes began to take a dive in the mid and late nineties as internal politics tore the team apart.
The team management that was doing wonders for the club was called names and, in turn, they stepped down and paved the way for the management that actually struggled to keep the team afloat.
The team became relegation candidates for almost a decade and normally survived in the last matches.
The last four seasons, however, were better for the club as the team regrouped and finished in reputable positions. They never finished below position eight.
Credit was normally given to the coach, Daniel Nare, who was popular among the team supporters.
This season, Gunners supporters were hoping for the best and were looking forward for the team to challenge for the Premier League Championship.
The team, however, started well but now things have collapsed to the extent that Nare just resigned from the club this past week.
His resignation is reported to be because of the acrimonious relationship he has with the management. The main problem is reported to be his concern over the welfare of players, something that does not go down well with the management.
Just before his resignation, there was an impasse between the players and the management over unpaid salaries. The players even went to the extent of boycotting the team’s training, demanding immediate payment. This is something that is reported to have irked the coach and thus he tendered his resignation.
Team supporters are now wondering whether Gunners will ever be a stable team or if problems will continue.
Efforts to contact Nare were futile as his phone rang unanswered.
Sports analyst and former football administrator, Fobby Radipotsane, told Sunday Standard that the problems at Gunners signal the challenges facing Botswana soccer.
He said unless the Premier League pulls its socks, Gunners problems will not end.
“In the modern era, a big team like Gunners cannot be run like it is being run currently. However it should all start from the Premier League where teams would be compelled to be privatised. At the last General Assembly it was unfortunate the Premier League deferred a motion calling to establish a privatisation arm. There should be clear guidelines and regulations like is the norm in developed countries or else our football will continue to suffer,” he said.
Radipotsane added that the problems at Gunners are the same as those preventing the progression of teams like Tafic, Notwane and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
He added that teams should take a leaf out of team books of the likes of Gaborone United, Uniao Flamengo Santos and Motlakase.
“If you look at how those teams are run, you can see that they are ambitious and very stable and I can tell you that in a few years they will have progressed far. Those teams do not wait for the Premier League to impose anything on them, they are just leading the way,” he said. Radipotsane emphasised that when Gunners were a force to reckon with in the early 90s, it was because it was run by ambitious people who had the interests of the team at heart. He said the very same management should be brought back to revive the team’s fortunes.