… As Boko claims to have helped acquire a bus for them
Extension Gunners’ financial troubles might have not only attracted the attention of football lovers but the sympathy of politicians to help the club.
Last week at the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) conference which was held in Gaborone, party president Duma Boko publicly declared he has used his connections to help acquire a bus for Gunners – mainly through Pontsho Moloi who has been at the helm of the team as a coach.
The Lobatse-based side is one of the teams which are currently bedeviled by financial difficulties, hence still struggling with settling debts which were incurred as far back as 2012. According to the available information, the bus is expected to be delivered in September this year.
Various Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams continue to incur some huge costs in order to attend league games though it has turned out that the rewards are nothing but just mere peanuts and are not enough to cover all the operational costs.
Player welfare also remain a great concern as teams sometimes fail to pay salaries and rent for players well on time. The number of cases concerning disputes between clubs and players about unpaid salaries in the just ended 2018/19 season has been high despite the efforts by clubs to commercialise and follow the club licensing requirements.
Two years back Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) released a report indicating that only five of the 16 premier league clubs are able to pay players their salaries on time. However the pledge by the UDC president has caused a little bit of confusion on whether it is a good thing for politicians to be meddling in football matters.
According to Gunners public relations officer Willoughby Kemoen, though they heard about the issue on social media they acknowledge the donation and believe it is not politically motivated but rather an honest contribution. However, he said they are still awaiting official communication from the donor since the announcement was made during an open conference where the club was not represented.
“We are looking at the same development with keen interest and we have since found out that our assistant coach (Pontsho Moloi) has mutual friendship with Boko. We should also appreciate that it is through relationships that we can get assistance. Before Boko can be a politician he comes from a family unit and in addition to that he is a Gunners supporter who as a club we are also chasing him to register for membership of the club,” said Kemoen.
According to Kemoen it is not the first time for Boko to help the club as he once paid for the team’s accommodation last season in Serowe. He further alluded that as the club they will continue to get assistance from Boko and other well-wishers since it is not his party which is helping but him on his individual capacity. “Extension Gunners is apolitical” said Kemoen.
When quizzed on what capacity was coach Moloi asking for help from Boko, Kemoen said; “Pontsho Moloi made the request based on his personal relationship with Boko. Our position is that any kind of assistance is welcome at the club from anyone including supporters. If supporters wish to donate to the club it’s gladly accepted. To support this we have acquired players through supporters and some even paid players’ salaries and accommodation in their personal capacity. But we maintain that it is not good for politics meddling in football but as for the bus matter we state that it will not be coming from UDC but from one of the well-wishers, being the leader of opposition as an individual,” he said.