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Orapa United’s trying times

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Club has reportedly requested P 1 million for contract renewals and recruitment

TLOTLO KEBINAKGABO

Although the official mouthpiece denies it, Orapa United have reportedly approached Debswana for P1 million for use to stop an exodus of several key senior players whose contracts are set to expire at the end of this season, Gazette Sport has established.

Among such players are Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Omaatla Kebatho and Tapiwa Nyamanjiva, all of whom have been instrumental in the team’s performance over years. This is coming at a time when the diamond mining town side has had yet another relatively trying run after finishing third below Township Rollers and Jwaneng Galaxy for the second consecutive season in a rollercoaster campaign that saw them fail to secure the Mascom Top 8 title yet again as well.

Nonetheless, ‘The Ostriches,’ as Orapa United are popularly known, regard themselves as being resilient and they are in line to salvage some of silverware before the 2018/19 season curtain comes down. This they aim to do when they face none other than their nemesis, league champions Township Rollers, in the final of the Orange FA Cup that is set for June 15 in Francistown.
The challenge of convincing some of their key assets to stay with the team are serious because some of them are said to have attracted the interest of several top flight teams that include Township Rollers, Gaborone United, Jwaneng Galaxy and Police XI.

According to a senior official at the team who requested anonymity, the players met with club management to understand their position last week. “Management is seriously perturbed by reports that some of the players might be leaving,” said the official. “The meeting was to engage with the players and inform them that the club will be seeing them about new contracts. We couldn’t talk with the players before for fear that they could become destabilised at a critical time of the league campaign. We have since approached the mine for funds and will be giving players new contracts before they leave for the off season.”

Gazette Sport understands that the players who met with management are Kebaikanye, Nyamanjiva, Lemogang Maswena, Kebatho and Nyumasi. Reached for a comment on the matter, Orapa United mouthpiece Kabo William denied that Orapa United had approached the mine for funding to stop players from leaving but confirmed that management had met with some players.

“I must say that we have not requested any money from the mine,” Wills said. “Players cannot disturb our budget. We stand our ground that if they want to go, they can go. We have learnt a lesson from pumping money into players. Our meeting with them was just to tell them that they should be patient with us because the team is doing well in the FA Cup. We will take it from there. We are not in fear or under pressure of losing any players.”

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