The money machine out of money
ON STRIKE: Gaborone United players

Broke GU have P3, 000 left in the bank

In 2013 Gaborone United seemed to have secured their financial future when they signed a lucrative three-year contract with Old Mutual worth over P3 million.

Back then the Reds were the envy of all other local clubs, who could only dream of such riches; back then, the Reds were well and truly in the black.

Five turbulent years later and, with just P3, 000 allegedly left in the bank, the Money Machine are broke.

Indeed, the current economic crisis engulfing GU threatens the 51-year-old club’s very existence.

These are dark days for the six-time Botswana Premier League champions.

GU owe their popular Head Coach, Rodolfo Zapata over P300, 000 – a 100 times more money than the club currently have in their account!

Zapata was due to meet with management on Thursday (April 19, the day after going to press) with sources close to the Argentine confident he would hand in his resignation.

Zapata is said to have received multiple offers from local sides, as well as Kenyan outfit AFC Leopards and a number of teams in the United States.

As well as the huge debt they owe Zapata, GU have not paid their players for four months, leading to the entire squad going on a strike which started last Friday and shows no signs of ending any time soon.

The situation reached an embarrassing new low last Saturday when GU took to the field with only eight men for their league encounter with Santos.

Kick-off had to be delayed for an hour and the Reds eventually finished the match with their full quota of 11, after three players turned up late.

Unsurprisingly, GU ended up losing the game 2-1.

This Wednesday, there was a desperate announcement on the club’s official page from management pleading for donations.

The memberships from all branches were requested to assist the club with contributions.

The statement indicated that the club found itself in this situation because of a lack of sponsorship and the withdrawal of financial assistance by former financers.

According to a reliable source, management agreed that the P3, 000 left in the account be divided equally amongst the remaining 15 players still contracted to GU.

“The 15 are to be given P200 each for transport so that they can attend training,” the highly-placed source told Voice Sport.

The source went on to reveal that players are currently staying at the club’s one-time financial backer Nicholas Zakhem’s apartment and thus have instructed management to buy them food since they have accommodation.

“This is a sad situation. Players were promised they would be given all the money from the Galaxy home game gate takings. We are left with five games to finish the league but this might disrupt the league. These people need to swallow their pride and give Zakhem the club because they have failed us,” he said.

When contacted for a comment, GU General Manager, Olebile Sikwane denied that players boycotted training.

He admitted they have financial problems and that management is working on correcting the situation of unpaid wages.

It is against this unsettling backdrop that GU line up for Saturday’s derby against league leaders Township Rollers, possibly without a coach, possibly without a full side!

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