Trouble at GU: Money machine broke

SHARE   |   Monday, 19 February 2018   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang
Trouble at GU: Money machine broke

A storm is brewing at Gaborone United as they reel from financial woes. With players reportedly boycotting training requesting to be paid, the club has also lost its chairman Rapula Okaile who resigned on Wednesday. Okaile’s unexpected resignation comes at a time when the club is struggling financially that even players have not been paid for some time. This week one of the players confirmed their boycott, saying they are demanding their dues before they could get back into the pitch. The player, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said the players feel that management is not serious to address their issue. He said they are constantly tricked with promises of being paid the next day, but that never happens. Gaborone United have been going through a rough financial patch since the departure of its former Director and Financier Nikolas Zakhem. It is believed that Okaile’s departure from the club will further worsen the situation. GU General Manager Olebile Sikwane confirmed that indeed Okaile has tendered his resignation. Sikwane said in the letter Okaile cited personal problems as the reason for his resignation. He said GU thank him for the selfless contribution he made to the club. Under his leadership this season GU experienced an improved performance both in the league and the Mascom Top 8. Contacted for comment Okaile confirmed his resignation, explaining that it is due to personal reasons. He, however, could not divulge more on the reasons. Okaile has since relinquished the Botswana Premier League Board chairmanship as well. While personal reasons are cited for his departure those close to GU believe that Okaile might have been forced out. Since assuming the chairmanship Okaile has known no peace. He was, however, adamant and held on for the past two years though a faction challenged the legality of his election to the position.The matter even reached the court of laws.

With the club having failed to hold its Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in three consecutive years because of failing to form quorum some believe that this was sabotage to stall progress. The battle for club control led to Zakhem’s exit from GU which ignited the financial problems that are now haunting the team. With Okaile leaving the team, it remains to be seen if the head coach Rudolf Zapata will last in his position. Those who know say Zapata is still holding the position because Okaile was protecting him. To try and alleviate the financial problem at the club, reports are rife that former financier has offered to help pay players wages for a month. Though the sources say he will just be helping out some revealed that Zakhem is harbouring desires to return to GU. Contacted for comment Zakhem confirmed that he had offered to help GU pay the players a month and half salary arrears. “Yes, I have spoken to the players on Friday after meeting with Mr Rapula Okaile, and relayed on his behalf to the players that they will be paid a month and half of their salaries arrears. Mr Okaile requested for financial assistance to top up Mascom prize money to cover 1.5 month players’ salary,” confirmed Zakhem. However, the former GU director quashed reports that he wants to return to GU. With Okaile out it remains to be seen who will be taking over as Gaborone United’s chairman. Sikwane, however, called on the Gaborone United supporters to remain calm throughout the transition period.



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