Gilport Lions unshaken by ownership brawl

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LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Gilport Lions chairman and investor Kelesitse Gilika says he is not bothered by the faction of disgruntled BMC FC members who are keen to win back the club they formerly owned. Last week the BMC FC members wrote to the Botswana Football Association, Registrar of Societies, Botswana Meat Commission, Botswana Premier League and Esfandier Ghodrathi to demand that the club now trading as Gilport Lions be restored to its original name and owners.
The Sonny Phiri led group argue that the transfer of the club (from BMC FC to Gilport Lions) was wrongful and illegal, and they are of the view that they have every reason to demand back the club they started in the late 1960s. Despite reports seeming to suggest that Gilika could lose the club, with also meeting set to take place sometime this week between Gilika and the aggrieved members, the former Gaborone United chairman still remains ‘cool headed’.
In a brief interview with Gazette Sport last week, Gilika confirmed that he was aware of the developments.
“We have been copied in the letter that was addressed to the, Botswana Football Association, Registrar of Societies, Botswana Meat Commission, Botswana Premier League and Esfandier Ghodrathi by the BMC social club, but at the moment there is not much to say about the matter,” said Gilika.
He revealed that the BMC FC members were destined for a court date on the 11 of November. “There is no way I am meeting with them, it is a issue that is of BMC Social club to BMC. They want to go to court on the 11th (November), so we will have to wait and see,” briefly stated the Lions chairman.
It is not the only case that could present a bleak future for Gilport Lions, as  one of the club’s investor Nicholas Zackhem is said to have been pushed to the exit door by the recent developments.
Before the start of the season, Lions announced that the former GU investor, who had recently parted ways with GU was joining the side as a new investor. Reports this week suggested that the construction mogul had bought 90% of the club.
Gililka would not confirm nor deny Zackhem’s exit as he referred the matter to Zackhem himself. This now means that the club remains entirely in the sole hands of Gilika, and Slim Holdings who are the team’s platinum sponsor.
The Lions chairman was recently quoted in Sunday Standard Sports saying, “Some people within our local clubs have a tendency to scare away investors with unnecessary sport politics. Look I am a football investor and these kind of politics disturb me. We need to move forward and improve standards of football, but some people have other thoughts. These kind of politics nearly tore apart Township Rollers and it haunted Gaborone United, so those who love football must understand that investors don’t want to be involved in football politics.”