- Zakhem still loves the club and would be willing to return – club source
- Zakhem would only return if given full control
Former Gaborone United financier Nicholas Zakhem is reportedly open to the idea of returning to the club and solving their financial crisis. GU are currently undergoing a rough patch, they have lost their head coach Rodolfo Zapata and there are fears of an exodus of the club’s high profile players following months without receiving their full salaries.
Last week Gazette Sport revealed that the club has a wage bill of approximately P300 000 for only the playing staff and they have struggled to source funds to pay players’ salaries. For a while GU were the model of professionalism in Botswana but it appears they have run out of luck in their once admirable administrative practices.
In 2016 two critical events set the tone for their current financial downfall, they lost chief financier Zakhem and their lucrative sponsorship deal with South African insurance Mutual and Federal came to an end.
Mutual and Federal had partnered with GU in 2013 and struck a P3.6 deal, which was divided into P1.6 per year for the duration of the three year deal. The end of the sponsorship deal meant that cash flow had reduced but the club still had enough to steady the ship in 2016.
However, in the same year Zakhem left the club following factional wars that had seen him lose control of the club, court battles followed as the warring factions fought for the right to lead the club. The businessman was caught in between the factional wars and elected to leave as the battles intensified.
Last week a source from within revealed to this publication that Zakhem would be willing to return to the club if approached with an appealing set of conditions, which include full control of the club. The source also revealed that they have sought advice and financial assistance from Zakhem and he has assisted them whenever he could and they believe that it is a sign that he could come back if provided with the right conditions.
“Zakhem is GU through and through, he would be more than happy to return to the club. He has not expressed interest in returning but he would be willing to come back if the general membership also wants him to return. It all depends on them, if they give him the reins he would return in a heartbeat, he wants full control of the club in order to fully lead the team again,” the source claimed.