After not enjoying much success in the previous decade, Gaborone United (GU) is eager to return to its glory days and win more trophies as evidenced by the team’s current performance, the club’s director and financier, Nicholas Zakhem, has said.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The Business Weekly Sports, Zakhem noted that GU has a long history in Botswana football and has left its mark on the local game for decades. “But GU, like other footballing clubs, has had its ups and downs over the previous decade,” he said. “And that’s the beauty of the beautiful game. It is now evident that our players and supporters are eager to take GU back to its glory days.” As financier of the team and a true supporter of the game, he added, he is extremely delighted with the team’s performance on and off the pitch.
“We have signed quality players and our technical team has done a great job, witness our 38 points in the first round.”
The Money Machine, as Gaborone United is affectionately known, has been a great threat to other clubs since resumption of football and start of the league late last year. This is the club that walloped Masitaoka 3-0 to lift the Orange FA Cup in December last year, ultimately becoming the tournament’s most successful side with a record of seven titles.
The Money Machine is also showing no mercy in the league where it is defeating other teams week in and week out. The club has registered victories against Orapa United, Rollers and Galaxy, all of which were seen as potential threats to stop its winning streak.
Not only is the Money Machine dominating on the football pitch, they are also beating at signing local big-name players. Over the previous months, GU has signed players like Lebogang Ditsele, Mpho Kgaswane, Thato Kebue, Mothusi Johnson, Thataoyaone Ramatlapeng and Thero Setsile. Zakhem has noted that the club’s wage bill has gone up since the club acquired these players, all of whom have past or present national team pedigree. “GU signings show that they are looking beyond winning the Mascom Top 8 and the league,” said renowned football analyst Jimmy George in response to a specific question. “Maybe they are thinking of the CAF Champions League.
“Signing big-name players works well in our local league. It worked for clubs like Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs before. You buy good players, they propel you to greater heights for a very long time. GU is just doing what other successful teams have done before.”
George added that he is gratified by GU’s building process of mixing experienced and young players. “They have also brought in Innocent Morapedi and Pontsho Moloi as coaches and the duo have enjoyed success with Mochudi Centre Chiefs before,” he said. “They are showing that they want to win more with GU again as they assemble a very good team that is bringing good results week in and week out. By the look of things, they are going to win the league. Put another way, the league is for them to lose.”