Despite announcing he will be taking a break from football, the outgoing Gaborone United (GU) financier, Nicholas Zakhem, has not ruled out the possibility of coming back to football, though not with Gaborone United. In the wake of the internal wars that have wrecked GU, which culminated in the team’s warring factions approaching the courts, the club financier decided to call it quits, a move which is likely to leave the team in financial dire straits.
Quizzed on whether he had any regrets as he turns his back on the team regarded mostly as his, Zakhem had this to say, “I’m in sorrow for leaving, but unfortunately I was left with no choice but to leave.” He however expressed that he needed to take a break from football. “At this juncture I wish to take a break from football and if I ever decide to join football I surely will prefer to have a company instead of society. Gilport Lions is on the cards so are two other outfits,” he concluded without outlining his ultimate destination.
Answering a questionnaire from this publication, Zakhem explained that though he was passionate about the club, he was left with no option but to pack and go. While it was no secret that the millionaire financier had always harbored a desire to have a system in place at the club that would protect his investments, developments at the club and the infighting prevented such.
Explaining his departure, the outgoing GU financier said he left because of the “two court cases lodged at the high court and the privatization model adopted by GU does not protect me (Zakhem) as an investor.” ‘Zac’ as the GU financier is popularly called within football circles, also refuted allegations that he was quitting because he had some major differences with the current executive committee that is running the team.
“On the contrary, I have enjoyed the working relationship, and I wish that my past dealings with former executive committees were as smooth as what I’ve enjoyed in the last 10 months’, he said. He told Sunday Standard that the current committee was calm and collected hence they had a cordial working relationship. While rumours abounded that the financier’s strained relations were all out for everyone to see when he refused to finance the team’s participation in the CAF confederations cup, Zakhem refuted the allegations, saying “their pull out from the CAF competitions was purely a logistics matter.”
Concerning his relationship with the supporters, the outgoing financier observed that the team’s supporters throughout the years including the just ended season were a magnificent crowd. “I am really going to miss their unconditional support,” he said.
Contacted for comment, GU chairman Rapula Okaile said “ga kena maikutlo” meaning I don’t care. The GU Chairman however refused to take further questions.