There appears to be no ceasefire between warring Mochudi Centre Chiefs factions as the team battles a poignant war of ownership and identity.
The matter is now compounded by the contrasting faces of Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its regional structures who keep on sending mixed reactions regarding the status of the team. A group commonly led by one Tsieng Ramocha has since written to BFA once again requesting the Letswhiti led administration to try and normalize the legal standing of Mochudi Centre Chiefs before the matter incapacitates the state of domestic football.
The group states that Centre Chiefs is torn apart and as a result, the two warring factions are seen to be fighting fire with fire. The letter written to BFA has implored the association to attend to the issue within 14 days, lest it is taken for further mediation with FIFA, the world football governing body. When asked for clarity, Centre Chiefs’ long standing media liaison Clifford Mogomotsi said people dwell too much in history.
He explained that all events that took place before the December 2016 court order are no longer relevant. According to him, the only explanation that his group is ready to give is about everything that happened after court. Mogomotsi said, “it is time to move on, reports that we are registered at as a trust is false, in fact we have de registered this trust last year June.” He continued, “Just last week, the Kgatleng region ratified that we are no longer a trust, but exist only as a society.”
The lingering negotiations about the club, once reached Lobatse high court for legal redress. Information shows that the court ordered both parties to form a transitional committee that was later tasked with conducting a thorough financial audit between periods of 2007 and June 2017. But as the club rumbles through different phases, it is noted that the court still recognizes Mochudi Centre Chiefs as a society.
WeekendSport has also discovered that the said transition never worked together as per the court order. Both parties continued to take a swipe at each other. A party known to have registered the Trust is said to have refused the auditing exercise- a claim one opposing group has shown in the letter that is now in the hands of BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo.
While Ramocha’s group continues to claim that the trust was never dissolved, a team which comprises of Mogomotsi and Raymond Tsheko among others say Chiefs has already done away with the matter and, in process, has affiliated as a society at the BFA. This is evidently supported by a BFA letter authored by one Setete Phuthego on APRIL 10 2018 that in indeed Centre Chiefs is affiliated as a society.
“This serves to confirm that Mochudi Centre Chiefs Sporting Club has affiliated to the Botswana Football Association as a society. This information is contained in CAF club licensing application which has been submitted to the first instance body and subsequently accepted by the same committee,” reads part of the letter.
Notwithstanding that, the other group still questions the authenticity and reliability of the Mogomotsi group. They are saying there are no records that show that the trust has been dissolved, and if indeed this has happened, the National Executive Committee (NEC), as per procedure, should be the one body accepting and ratifying the change and not the regional structure.
It is why on the 17th of April 2018, the acting Secretary General of Kgatleng region Mirror Pilane wrote asking for the umpteenth time for the club to clarify its affiliation status. The letter further explained that “as per the Kgatleng records, of club affiliation of 31st MAY 2017, Mochudi Centre Chiefs affiliation is recorded as a trust.” While the meditation is believed to have reached Bogosi at Kgatleng, there seems to be no conclusion ahead. Is Chiefs a society or a Trust? The question is yet to be conclusively answered.
Chronology of events
11 November 2013 Chiefs attempts to dissolve society
4th December 2013 Civil and National Registration asks Chiefs to submit a copy of constitution Also asks for annual returns for 2012-2013
24th March 2014 Chiefs registered as Trust, Kgatleng Regional FA informed
28th April 2014 Chiefs Trust affiliation status accepted, pays P 5000
27th April 2015 BFA confirms Chiefs Trust
10th June 2016 BFA asks Chiefs to clarify affiliation status
20th July 2016 Chiefs SOCIETY says it was never dissolved
12th December 2016 The matter goes to court
22 February 2017 Chiefs transitional committee formed
30th June 2017 Chiefs attempt to dissolve the trust
10th April 2018 BFA confirms Chiefs as Society
17th April 2018 Kgatleng region says Chiefs is still a trust
Botswana Football Association (BFA) constitution appears to be under heavy scrutiny as Tebogo Sebego, the president of Notwane Sporting club, questions its authenticity, with strong indications that several clauses were removed and others added without the input of the General Assembly.
Sebego, who vied for the BFA presidency in October 2020, feels Notwane is a bonafide member of BFA and has been participating in the past three BFA assemblies but cannot be part of the mess that the club and others did not create. On 13th September 2021, Notwane forwarded a complaint letter to the football association’s chief executive officer (CEO), challenging how two constitutions were amended.
The club says a constitution dated 25th June 2021 and the other bearing a stamp of 10th December 2020 were amended under fraudulent circumstances and want an explanation on how it transpired. “We have recently received a constitution dated 25th June 2021 stamped by the registrar of societies. The said constitution carries some changes that were never discussed and voted upon at the BFA general assembly.
Of particular interest, we have noted that the following new amendments, Article 33 of the 2016 constitution, is replaced by article 30. The procedure has been reduced, but the principles remain the same. The relevance of this is to restate the constitutional culture and mandatory powers of the General Assembly as the sole body responsible for constitutional amendments,” part of the letter seen by this publication reads.
Article 33 that Sebego complains of reads thus, “The general assembly is responsible for amending the constitution and the standing orders of the general assembly.” Furthermore, Notwane argues that another article (22.1) of the 2021 constitution then wipes off the presence of 16 delegates from the Premier League clubs and eight representatives from the first division together with their voting rights.
The club believes that while the autonomy of the Botswana Football League (BFL) was approved in the 2020 General Assembly, the assembly never discussed, voted or approved the removal of delegates from the General Assembly. The team believes that the amendments are therefore unlawful for lack of authority from the General Assembly. This is the case because it has a significant impact on the landscape of the structure of the General Assembly, Notwane argues.
Moreover, Notwane’s shock is skyrocketing, especially when raising another equally screaming change in the constitution. In the letter state, the club states that article 33.4 of the 2021 constitution introduces a term limit for the president. The club speculates that the amendment seems to be carried from the 2019 version of the constitution, and whatever its genesis, the matter was never before the General Assembly.
“It is only the General Assembly that has powers, through the right constitutional channels to introduce a limitation on the term of the president and further to define the limitation based on the reasons presented to it,” the argument goes on. The old constitution was limited to at most two terms, but it seems the president can now enjoy the third term.
Sebego and Notwane argue that they have raised these articles to demonstrate that the constitution was amended without following due process in an unconstitutional, unlawful and somewhat fraudulent manner. They say this 2021 constitution and that of the 2019 version are, in their view, unlawful documents and should be reversed without delay.
The complaint letter was also copied to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) desk and the registrar of societies — an organisation that issued a stamp on the constitutions in question. Notwane, in a parting shot, wants to be furnished with minutes that allowed the constitutional changes because, to their understanding, there was none.
It has come to the attention of this publication that Notwane had given the BFA head of secretariat seven days to have replied, but nothing has come out. However, neither party was available for comment as the paper was going to print.
A clash of personal egos, paper trail gone wrong and unfulfilled promises are the primary reasons Botswana international star player, Mothusi’ Mini’ Cooper is still on the fringes despite a vast of football talent at his disposal.
Cooper has suddenly become the centre of controversy after completing a dream move to Lusaka Power Dynamos in Zambia and adorned by many football lovers. His move left his parent club, Township Rollers, divided. Cooper left Rollers last season, but the club he was hoping to re-write his name into folklore has suddenly given him nightmares where he is now stuck on the way forward.
It is reported that the pint-sized midfielder has terminated his two-year contract with the Lusaka club after the club failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement. When cancelling the contract, Cooper was doing so with the hope that he would eventually re-united his old club, Township Rollers.
According to informants, Rollers high-ranking officials refused to accept Cooper back because Power Dynamos is yet to finish the transfer fee paid for the player. It is said that Rollers were reluctant to release the player, but his agent forced matters, consequently fracturing the relationship between the player and Rollers management.
Cooper was earning close to P 25 000 per month, but that lasted for a while. As things stand, the player was training with BDF XI to retain fitness level, but his future is yet to be thoroughly established. Rollers are believed to be reluctant to negotiate terms with him again, and that alone cast aspersions on the way forward. Had the player left on good terms, he would have been readily accepted back, sources claim.
From what this publication gathered, Rollers is still livid at how Cooper left the club, but what is more of a serious matter is the fractured relationship between the club and player agent. It is said that Rollers had failed to pay the agent his dues when Cooper was sold to Lusaka Power Dynamos.
While others within the Rollers executive committee believe this matter could be quickly resolved, the club is still awaiting paper documents filed at FIFA seeking Lusaka Power Dynamos to complete payment of the player. It is not yet clear how much is owed to Township Rollers, but what is apparent is that Dynamos has disappointed.
Cooper was on the wanted list of Orapa United, but the transfer window closed before anything tangible could be discussed. Phemperetle Pheto, the spokesperson of Rollers, refused to shared details regarding Cooper matter. However, their chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi indicated through the club’s online magazine that the case is before FIFA statutes and will be discussed soon.
After more than 550 days without competitive football game in the country, information gleaned from various sources indicates that the Botswana Football League (BFL) is expected to start the 2021/2022 football season not early or late October.
The resumption of the 2021/2020 season comes after a year and few months since March 2020. Local football was halted during the second round of 2019/2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ban on competitive sport aimed to keep the spread of the coronavirus disease under control. The pandemic had already forced the BFA executive committee to declare the 2020/2021 season null and void in March, citing that the resumption would have caused a fixture pile-up in a limited space of time.
In a brief interview with this publication, the newly appointed BFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solomon Ramochotlhwane, said the preparations are ongoing for the football season. “We are engaging all the relevant stakeholders such as the referees’ committee, teams, even Botswana Football Association (BFA)”.
Ramochotlhwane also revealed that all teams would be expected to test for COVID-19 every fortnight once the league has started. He further indicated that they have since written a letter through the mother body, BFA proposing the vaccination of all the players and technical team members. The Government vaccination rollout plan targets people aged 30 to 44, and BPL wants all players to be included in this age group.
However, Ramochotlhwane noted that they are currently waiting for a response from the health authorities concerning the vaccination of players and the technical teams. Moreover, Ramochotlhwane indicated that they would use certified stadiums that meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. BFL, an organ established to run the elite league independently from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is currently negotiating with former headline sponsors, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).
Impeccable sources report that the two parties are considering a reunion to lift football from its knees. Information gleaned from various sources indicates that each party has amenability and willingness to re-engage, but there is nothing concrete to talk about at this stage. When commenting on the prospects of BTC coming on board to be headline sponsors, BPL CEO said sponsors need assurances that activities will go according to plan and would not risk committing their money into uncertainties.
Ramochotlhwane would not confirm any names but instead mentioned that they have a plan as BPL in place. It is reported that the new BFL board of directors is quickly drawn to the side of local network giants who also have changed faces in their administrative and marketing wings. BFL is oozing with confidence after reports emerged that BTC’s profits have risen to P 832M. Meanwhile, it is reported that BFA National Executive Committee recently agreed to extend a P 5 million loan to the BFL to commence the 2021-22 football season.
The reported P5 million loan deal follows numerous attempts to secure sponsorship by the newly established BFL body but to no avail. The amount is meant to augment other sponsorship finances sourced thus far. As things stand, the BPL board is believed to have secured a P 6 million broadcast deal with Botswana Television (BTV) and have also closed files with Absa Bank on a reported P3 million deal. The 5 million BFA loan is an expected add-on to the overall P9 million already in the account of the BFL. The move, therefore, means that the 2021-22 football season will be powered at a value of P 14 million.