Botswana Premier League (BPL) Prosecutor is preparing to drag trouble-torn Mochudi Centre Chiefs to the charge table for allegedly bringing the game of football into disrepute – a scenario concealed within the premier league playoff game that was to decide the ultimate 2015-2016 title winner.
WeekendSport learns that the league house sent a communiqué to the Kgatleng giants on the 26th of July to show cause why they should not be reprimanded for ‘taking football instructions lightly.’
According to a letter written to the club, the league’s disciplinary body believes that Chiefs treaded on thin ice when they carried and fielded only seven players to face Township Rollers on the 23rd of July at Francistown Sports Complex.
‘‘It is alleged that on the aforesaid date, on account of misconduct by your team, the aforesaid football game was stopped and/or abandoned before the full playoff time. ‘‘ It is alleged further that in breach of the play Rules and Regulations of the Botswana Football Association(BFA); article 25.1, your team failed to accept and/or timeously obey instructions, orders and decisions of the National Executive Committee (NEC) directing the play-off match between the two teams to conclude matches for the 2015-2016 seasons,’’ the letter further reads.
Further, the prosecutor pointed Chiefs to article 25.6; ‘‘your team acted in a manner that may be properly interpreted as bringing the game of football into disrepute,’’ the letter states.
All the above articles of the Play Rules and Regulations talk about ‘misbehaviour’- where thinking is incited that Centre Chiefs had a master plan not to play the game.
The team was given until Friday to have responded to the BPL prosecutor’s letter where upon stern action will be spelt out.
However, this publication has further intercepted Centre Chiefs’ response where they have asked for a maximum of three days extension to acknowledge and study the past proceedings. In their letter, signed by Raymond Tsheko, Magosi wants to be furnished with the necessary documents as this will help in a matter they feel has serious legal implications.
‘‘We appeal to your office to extend the time frame of three days demanding our response to this matter. In our view, this matter has serious legal implications and as such the stipulated time period is not reasonable enough for us to provide full account of the matter beforehand,’’ they wrote.
Chiefs further proposes 14 days as a reasonable time frame to exhaust all legal and administrative consultation with their stakeholders.
They also demand that the league office avail the referees’ match report, the match commissioner’s report, together with the minutes of the meeting of the July 14th 2016 held at Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) conference room.
The Kgatleng outfit had fielded only seven players in a game against bitter rivals, Township Rollers. The game was abandoned on the 40th minute after Chiefs’ player, Arnold Mampori received a head injury that forced him out of the game. According to world football governing body-FIFA laws, a game can only be played by minimum of 7 players, and if the number is below 7, the game has to be called off.
Clifford Mogomotsi, Centre Chiefs media liaison expressed shock at the league’s letter. ‘‘ We are very shocked that these guys want to charge us, but we will wait for everything to be concluded more so because we believed we have explained ourselves before the game,’’ he said.
The game itself has been surrounded by controversy. It was first postponed by the Sports Commission to give priority to the Senior National Team that was preparing for COSAFA games. A feeling grew around the football fraternity that the playoff match has been over taken by events.
The tussle between the two clubs, which has now brought the league to a standstill, has its roots on Zebras’ player, Ofentse Nato. The Kgatleng outfit were the first club to protest his registration procedures, but different BFA legal structure pronounced different judgment on him-some saying he was a defaulter, others opposition.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.