Sleeping Giant of Peleng Awakens

| December 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

Following over two decades of average to below par performance, the once glamorous Lobatse football outfit appears to be on song to reclaim its position among the high achievers in local football.

The giants which were the embodiment of creative, entertaining, touch and go style of play descended into mediocrity in the mid-1990s following withdrawal of sponsorship from Lobatse Cash Store (LCS) and internal fighting.

However, following the investment of P2 million by the Dada and Ismail families, Gunners’ ship which has been sailing in troubled waters for extended periods of time appears to have steadied.

Extension Gunners Football Club is currently posing a g challenge for the league title, the position it has never occupied since 1995 when it eventually lost the race to the country’s most successful football club, Township Rollers.

Unlike the political ‘Sick man of Europe,’ The Ottoman Empire in the 19th century which subsequently lost its position as one of the great empires, Gunners seem to have recovered nicely from a period of mediocrity, internal conflicts, violence, severe sanctions and near bankruptcy. They are currently among the top quartet on the league table, only six points off the pace.

Again, it will be a grave mistake, not to mention that Extension Gunners is one of the teams in Botswana that has a gigantic following, from all corners of Botswana.

The thorn in the flesh is that the team has failed over the years to decorate their cabinet with trophies and the last time they won the league was in 1994.

During those glory days, they won it three consecutive times in 1992, 1993, 1994, and that was the last time they kissed the league’s trophy.

As for the Coca Cola Cup ,they won it three times in 1988, 1992, 2011,and they went ahead to win Orange Kabelano Charity Cup in 1996, 1998, 2001.

However, the club chairperson, Kitso Dlamini told BOPA that they were not in the top four bracket by sheer luck, because they prepared well.

He said they managed to bring in robust people on board such as Cassim Dada and family as well as Rashid Chopdat who came on board to support the team financially.

According to Dlamini this has been a morale booster to the team at the same time it is a position that has really changed complexion of how they run the team.

“We are very excited that we are in the top four bracket, as I promised from the beginning of the season, that we are going all out to fight for the elite position being the championship, we are still on track,” he said.

Furthermore, Dlamini said the relationship that they have with their supporters had made their life very easy to fight for the championship.

He said Gunners supporters have been calm since the beginning of this season in areas such as hooliganism.

Their supporters, he said are now educating each other at branch level, about the repercussions of hooliganism, adding that players are also committed and disciplined in a lot of areas, and as Extension Gunners management they applaud them for that.

He reiterated that at the beginning of the season, they did not start well, hence they met with their players and buttressed the importance of fighting for the championship.

Talking about the technical team, he said they also have done their part, given that they have brought in solidarity and urgency amongst players.

Dlamini said there was no doubt that his team was one of the most supported clubs in the country, therefore with the support base and players they have, they will definitely go places.

Gunners have supporters all over the country, and the team is always home away from home.

Apparently most inaugural Gunners supporters were employees of De Beers Prospecting Company based in Lobatse.

“When they started moving all over the country to do survey, they spread the news of Gunners, and it is one of the factors that made the team to become more popular,” said Dlamini.

Another aspect, he said was the style of play and the vibrancy which Gunners took from 1992 to 1996, which he said was well received by the nation.

Apart from it being a lucky brand, he said it was a team which has history in terms of the beautiful football of tsamaya. He said those were the days when people really wanted to be associated with Gunners because of that.

Gunners is one of the teams that has never tasted relegation, despite that sometime at the end of the season they would be fighting to avoid relegation.

He said former manager Oarabile Koboditsile had the team by his shoulders, since he was at the helm of the club for five to six seasons, without a single thebe.

” To be honest, that’s the same man who taught me leadership, and to this date him and Chopdat really fought for the team, mind you those days we didn’t have good players, but the leadership were able to motivate players, supporters and themselves during the times where there was no money, they really played a good role,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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