Botswana will not be represented in this year’s CAF competitions as Gaborone United pulled the plug in the eleventh hour. GU management announced on Monday that the team will not be taking part in the CAF competition this year citing financial constraints. GU chairman Rapula Okaile confirmed the pull out, saying they have tried their best to raise funds for the competition but failed. Okaile said to honour the fixture is very expensive, hence the decision to pull out.
According to Okaile, the team needed around P500 000 for the first leg in Zanzibar. “The fixture is too expensive for us. Our estimates have shown that we will need half a million Pula just for the first leg. We have tried our best to try and source this money but unfortunately we did not manage,” said Okaile.
He pleaded with the supporters to understand their stand in pulling out of the cup. He said other chances will come for GU to take part in the competition in future. They now face CAF’s wrath for pulling out of the competition at the last minute. Even though Okaile said they do not know the exact penalties for pulling out they are ready for any punishment that will come their way.
The team now face a likely fine and suspension from CAF activities for about two years. This is in accordance with CAF’s article 13 of interclub regulations. CAF Article 13 stipulates that “apart from the financial sanctions, every club withdrawing from the competition after the establishment of the fixtures will be forbidden from participating in all CAF interclub competitions for two or three years following its withdrawal”.
GU are not the only local team that pulled out of the CAF competitions as the 2014/2016 beMOBILE premier league champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs were the first to do so three weeks ago. Centre Chiefs spokesperson also cited financial constraint as the reason to withdraw from the competition. This leaves Botswana unrepresented in CAF competitions this year.