The move of Zebras hard tackling midfielder, Ofentse Nato from his former Indian based club Atletico De Kolkata to high paying Township Rollers, has left behind a litany of questions albeit with no answers. Procedures taken to register the player by the close of the transfer window on January 31st are still in question.
Documents seen by WeekendSport reveal a transfer scam almost manufactured under the most shredded circumstances to have the Mogobane born player registered at the premier league before the closure of the January transfer window.
Background information shows that on Monday 1st of February, when the Botswana Premier League issued a press release to confirm completed transfers of players, Ofentse Nato’s was not appearing. This is the case because Botswana Football Association (BFA), as overseer of the premier league, had made it clear that registration of players (whether new or old), transfers or loaning of players shall not be allowed after January 31st.
While the status of Nato, whose other name is Moepi, is before independent bodies, the view point from other quarters is that the former Gaborone United midfielder could have still been registered outside the transfer window only after his status was first dealt with.
The discrepancies surrounding the 27 year old player’s transfer emanate from the license form to the certificates of fitness. As per procedure, this publication has learnt that once the license is granted by the relevant football authority, all other needed documentation should have already been dealt with. Ofentse Nato’s playing license indicates that it was issued on January 31st.
On it, a date of 8th February 2016 was captured regarding his fitness. The date does not correspond with that of the medical certificate issued by one Dr Lambert. Nato was thus certified fit to play on the 10th of February 2016. The license form bears signatures of the player, Rollers Secretary General, Khumo Masonya and the medical doctor.
When reached for clarity BFA Chief Executive Officer, Kitso Kemoeng, distanced himself from what he referred to as a ‘difficult issue’ to deal with. WeekendSport wanted to know the date at which Nato‘s international transfer certificate(ITC) reached the association, but the low-lying Kemoeng could only say, “I do not want to comment on issues ongoing before tribunals. Let them deal with it first then we shall assist you accordingly.’’
However, information gleaned from various documents seen by this publication reveal that All India Football Federation issued Nato’s transfer certificate on 9th of February 2016, 7 days after the player penned a four months deal with the high flying Township Rollers. Strangely, all these were completed after the license was issued.
Furthermore, on the 5TH of February 2016, a letter without an addressee was issued stating that Nato had ended his contract with Athletico De Kolkata on 22nd December 2015. The letter bears the stamp of the premier league but curiously, does not bear the stamp of Athletico De Kolkata. It reads in part, “for appropriate purposes, we communicate that Ofentse Nato has ended his contract with Athletico De Kolkata on 22.12.2015.’’
While is it crystal clear that on the 2nd of February 2016, the towering midfielder signed a contract with Popa, evidence suggests that the player through his agent was negotiating with former local club, Gaborone United as late as 5th February 2016.
Nato first became the subject of discussion after Township Rollers pushed arch rivals Mochudi Center Chiefs to the brink of elimination in the Top 8 championship two weeks ago at the Francistown sports complex. The player played part of the match, prompting Chiefs to file a protest. However, Magosi were left counting their losses after it was discovered that they failed to follow procedure in lodging the protest. The same player was part of their game against Gilport Lions who too have complained legally regarding the status of the player who has endeared himself to Popa faithfuls. His earnings are not less than P25 000 at The Blues.
Chronology of Nato transfer
31st January- license application form was stamped and issued
O2 February- Nato signed contract with Rollers
5th February-release letter issued from De Kolkata
9th February- Nato international transfer Certificate was issued
10th February- Nato’s fitness was examined
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of Franceâ€™s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.