Selebi Phikwe-based beMOBILE Premiership campaigners Nico United are a team in financial trouble. Information unearthed by BG Sport tells of a sorry reading of their financial statement, plunging the club into a one-way slide to doom if nothing is done to save the situation.
Ironically, the club has shown some cheerfulness in this calamity and their impressive run of positive results lately was capped by the outstanding 4-0 demolition of Miscellaneous over the past weekend. In the recent past, they have handed Gaborone United a similar score line humiliation. For time immemorial, the club has financially been feeding off the BCL Copper Mine and the recent downturn at the mine has now left United reeling in uncertainty.
Recent media reports have suggested that the mine cannot even afford to even pay some of its own employees at the right time, leaving Nico in turmoil.
A deeply worried club’s spokesperson Ace Orapeleng told BG Sport in an interview that their situation was really bad. “It’s (the situation) really bad. We are struggling and things are not as rosy as some people think. I am not in a position to talk about the mine, but at Nico, financially, we are not good at all,” he said.
When pressed to comment on the depth of the financial problems, especially with regard to the players’ salaries, Orapeleng said: “So far we have managed for the month of October and we try to make them all happy. It is not easy and it is during times like this (sic) that the team needs the Nico United family the most.
Companies must come on board and assist, we are working tirelessly to diversify the economy of Selebi Phikwe through sport. Companies must come and do business with us, we have an advertising space for them and our agreement with BCL allows that,” he said.
Orapeleng also told BG Sport that they have made proceeds from sales of the club’s newly launched Umbro merchandise but said what they have pocketed so far is not near enough what the team needs to survive in the next couple of months.
With head coach having told this publication in a previous interview that they want a top four finish, Orapeleng said that there is no change of mission as evidenced by the team’s occupation of position 5 on the league table and that he was full of praise for their technical team. “We are lucky to have a self-motivated technical team. Sometimes it’s about experience and believing in management. We will get there with the love and passion they have for the team. Our top four mandate hasn’t changed and we will win this marathon,” he said confidently.
United are expected to use the current FIFA international break as a much-needed breather. Their statement of comprehensive income needs to get out of the red zone or else they will find themselves dealing with an exodus of players during what is expected to be one of the busiest transfer windows ever this coming January.