- Six players terminated their contracts with the club last week
- Club insists that the terminations will not be final until they reach a consensus
- GU yet to pay players outstanding wages
Gaborone United have confirmed that they are still assessing termination letters submitted by six of their players last week. Kabelo Seakanyeng, Thatayaone Ditlhako, Goitseone Phoko, Tumisang Orebonye, Tshepo Maikano and Karabo Phiri all terminated their contracts with the club after growing frustrated with the club’s current financial crisis.
The club informed Gazette Sport that the termination of the players’ contracts is not yet final. Rumours circulated on Friday that the club suspended the players because they were blind-sided by the players’ decision to terminate their contracts since they are still contracted to the club for multiple years.
Last week the players, represented by the Footballers Union of Botswana, forwarded their case to the Botswana Football Association National Dispute Resolution Chamber for their case to be heard as an urgent matter as they were looking to be swiftly released from their contracts. The NRDC dismissed the plea for an urgent hearing because the case did not satisfy requirements of urgency.
The players, FUB and GU then convened for yet another meeting on Friday morning. GU’s general manager Olebile Sikwane has denied reports that the players have been suspended.
“GU has not released any players, the club is the receipt of termination letters seeking to release them from contract. We haven’t studied the grounds of termination and whether or not that termination is procedurally correct. Remember you don’t just get up and terminate a contract. The grounds for termination must be sufficient to warrant the termination. The club will meet after the Tuesday game against Gilport Lions to respond to the purported termination. Our position is that we can’t stand in a player’s way to leave for greener pastures, but that player must respect Gaborone United and the league. We would give any player his release letter if that termination is mutual,” said Sikwane in an interview with this publication.
“Some of these players, the club has spent a lot on them, some have been paid the biggest sign on fee in the history of our football. Our response should not be a knee jerk reaction, it should be a guide to the future,” he added.
One of the main reasons why the players have decided to terminate their contracts is that they are still owed outstanding wages from last year. “We have not paid outstanding wages, but the unpaid wages don’t nullify the contract. There’s a procedure in terms of contract and labour laws which guides termination. The club has been in touch with players, all matters will be resolved after the league. We have spoken to the players about the situation and we are optimistic, we are looking to retain most of our players including Jackson Lesole whose contract is elapsing at the end of the month,” the GU general manager concluded.
Unconfirmed reports also suggest that the club believes that ‘external forces’, interested clubs, might be tapping up the players and influencing their actions.