Dikwena were sold for a paltry R22.5-million to a four-man consortium that includes coach Roger de Sa under the banner of Rawat Petroleum.
The announcement of the sale featured angry locals who were unhappy that the club was sold to outsiders after chairman Cliff Ramoroa insisted that the first priority is to sell to people in the region so that the club remains in Phokeng.
Thabo Mokgatle was one local businessman who wanted to purchase the club in a joint venture by the Machipa Legacy Foundation, NPC and Medimo 368 Engineering.
There are allegations that this group was prepared to pay around R33-million for the club, something the Royal Bafokeng Holdings, former owners of Dikwena, denied.
Mokgatle is challenging the club’s sale in court after also opening a case of corruption, fraud and money laundering against the club’s board led by Ramoroa.
The Hawks revealed on the day that the club’s purchase was announced that they are in advanced stages of that investigation. Mokgatle was adamant that a number of people will go to jail once the matter is finalised, arguing that Dikwena were run to the ground not only by poor administration but also by corrupt elements.
Before any investigation was conducted, it seemed that there might be some truth to his allegations, judging by what has happened at the club leading up to the sale.
A number of key players were lost on free transfers with the club not doing enough to tie them up before their contracts reached their last six months. A club operating on a tight budget should do a better job at keeping their talent, and when they lose them - get something out of it. The loss of Kobamelo Kodisang, for free to Bidvest Wits, should have seen heads roll because it was criminal for the club to lose one of their brightest upcoming stars who they nurtured without getting anything for it.
Mokgatle alleges that certain individuals benefited from those “free” transactions while the club suffered financially.
This is going to be an interesting case that might have far-reaching ramifications should the Hawks find that there is some truth to Mokgatle’s allegation.
The businessman was adamant that people who are found guilty must go to jail instead of having the matter swept under the carpet.
But all of this must be taken with a pinch of salt until the investigation is concluded as it comes from a bitter businessman who only started speaking openly and loudly about this when he lost out.
What I find interesting in this sale is the community’s anger.
I understand it to an extent because if the club moves, there will be a lot of small businesses who will suffer. The transport, hotel and food sector will also lose as they got a slice of the pie in the matches that Phokeng hosts.
But the community must be honest with themselves in their role of Dikwena’s demise. They are also to blame for the poor support they showed Stars.
Dikwena had the entire North West province to themselves and they still struggled to fill the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace. Even when they were playing their best football, finishing second in the league and winning two trophies in one season - this venue was never packed.
It’s a sad indictment of a lethargic community that let their team down.
I know people will argue that maybe the club didn’t do enough to attract the home crowd but that relationship is two-way. You can’t exactly entice someone to love you if their heart isn’t there.
Stars’ demise, on and off the field, should serve as a rude reminder for many clubs and communities that the two need each other and the two must always support each other.
AmaZulu must be applauded for the number of community outreach programmes that they do and did even in their days in the first division.
Football fans are more than just customers, they are the heartbeat of the sport. Clubs shouldn’t treat them as mere consumers but they should treat them as an extension of their family.
That’s not the case anymore in this dog-eat-dog business with an ever-increasing wall between fans and the club. But fans also need to come to the party and meet clubs halfway by supporting them with their love and money.