The fancied Gaborone United (GU) will be electing new leadership this weekend in Gaborone, hoping to push back their recent chaotic lifestyle involving, among other issues, financial issues of unpaid salaries for players, disgruntled executive committee and a FIFA lawsuit.
The Special General Meeting is expected to see the Moyagoleele family turning a new leaf and ushering in a new Executive Committee that will take over the running of the BTC Premiership club. Earlier this week, the GU Elders committee that has been running the club for the past three months unveiled a report of their achievements and challenges.
Among their achievement is the settlement of a highly publicized lawsuit involving their former player Bismarck Appiah. FIFA had ordered GU to pay their former Ghanaian player an amount in excess of P400 000 after a dispute over unfair dismissal. The Elders Committee was at pains to discuss how they raised the funds to settle the embarrassing lawsuit that saw them being dragged before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
“To date, GU have made full payment in respect of the above FIFA Disciplinary Committee orders in two payment instalments. The first instalment in respect of FIFA fines and part payment of Mr Appiah’s claim was made on 24th August, 2018. The second and final payment of Appiah’s claim plus interest accrued was made on 7th September 2018. I would therefore like to declare the Appiah case finalized and closed,” GU Elders Committee president Oarabile Kalaben said.
Addressing members of the press, Kalaben emphasised that the Elders Committee inherited the Appiah financial debacle when they assumed control of the team at a Special General Meeting held in Palapye earlier this year. Kalaben said Appiah initially dragged the team before the Department of Labour for unfair dismissal, citing former GU officials as respondents.
“On 2nd February 2016 Appiah attended the mediation hearing, but none of the respondent’s officials (Executive Committee of GU) including Nicolas Zakhem attended. As a result, on 17th February 2016 , Appiah was given a default award and GU as a respondent was advised to pay the player as the applicant, a total of USD2,134.60 (BWP 23, 715.00) which he claimed was what was owed to him.”
However, Kalaben said GU officials did not honour the decision before the set date of 7th March 2016. Kalaben said GU officials at the time ignored the letter of claim even after the money ballooned to USD39,500 which is the equivalent of BPW 438,888 at the current exchange rate.
Meanwhile, the GU SGM is expected to address the current financial problem of the team which includes a recent proposal from their former financier Nicolas Zakhem. The Elders Committee explained that they have since met with Zakhem who confirmed to have knowledge of almost all the team’s problems. He then sought to know how the Elders Committee expected him to assist.
The Elders Committee asked Zakhem to come up with a proposal and having received the proposal back in August Kalaben said the Elders Committee decided the proposal contained conditions that required extensive discussions and further clarification. “On 9th August, the Elders Committee acknowledged receipt of the proposal and indicated that some conditions were beyond their mandate but notwithstanding, the Committee indicated its readiness to discuss the proposal at Zakhem’s earliest convenience.”
Kalaben said the Committee later made a counter proposal to Zakhem proposal. To date both the letter of acknowledgement and the counter proposal have not been responded to by Zakhem. The Elders Committee has since proposed a meeting with Zakhem with the BFA presiding over it in accordance with Clause 10.3.2.3-which addresses settlement of disputes between clubs, players, officials and members under the BFA constitution.Zakhem has to date refused to attend such a meeting.