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MY WORD ON SUNDAY: Gunners torture fans

SHARE   |   Monday, 30 November 2015   |   By Mpho Dibeela

Being an Extension Gunners fan at the moment should be like being put on the noose. It keeps sinking in at every move, with increasing discomfort and edging ever closer to final moments – taking your live away. That is what this team has become to its thousands of fans – they love it with intense passion; yet just when they believe they are set for the good times, the noose bites in. If Gunners survive this season to remain in the top league they would be a proper definition of being great masters of survival.

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It is the endless frustration of the fans however that is palpable. And to show that they cannot withstand running weeks of poor results they took their frustrations to the door of the chairman, almost pointing a gun at him and his family demanding results. Kitso Dlamini in seeing the fury of his erstwhile friends chose the only way out – to step down to safeguard the security of his family. The fans seem to pile blame on Dlamini. One or two things could have brought this about. Dlamini and his executive suspended Pio Paul, the only coach who had presided over the teams four wins this year.

At the time the team had started struggling, but fans still had faith that Paul could turn things around. His suspension came as a surprise. Subsequently the team parted ways with the coach. After trying with care-taker coach, the club announced the return of Daniel Chicco Nare, a former player and coach, who has a knack to unleash performance. And after two salaries, Nare is still to deliver a win. He is pleading with the fans to remain patient while he worked on the team.
From being a pace-setter at some point with the fans gleefully warning rivals that 2015/16 will see the title go to Lobatse, the team is now hanging precariously on position 13 with four wins, one draw and eight losses, making a -4 goal difference. Besides this the team has been bungled out of the prestigious Mascom Top 8 Cup. Things are not looking well and player unrest has not been ruled out, with claims that they are deliberately losing other games as protest over unpaid salaries. This points to the serious administrative challenges that the team faces. This is despite the team having previously launched the business side of its operations with an ambition to grow the team into a championship winning side. When the team opened the season with a bang; it looked as if things were finally coming together. However, it now proves it was a fluke.
Whatever remains of the club’s management must now face-off with the challenges at hand and restore confidence on a side that matters so much to thousands. Proper and astute club management is expected to safeguard the team from such kind of developments. Though the team has constantly triumphed over relegation threats, this time around things appear too serious. The club has rarely gone for more than nine games without a win or draw. It is clear that Nare faces a serious challenge. And for him to turn things around, players must be given a reason to focus on winning games.

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Their dues, whichever way it is possible, should be paid and at least reach an agreement over paying terms. Even as that would be done, the coach should have in hand match winning strategies. He after all has to justify his employment and safeguard his credentials lest his stature collapses with Gunners demise.  The diehard fans of Mapantsula are known for their tenacity; they never give up of their side. Yet for them, it is a painful love and hate relationship. They never hate their club though; only those that let it down. 



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