The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has defended itself against an embarrassing fiasco that has blocked the highly publicized move of three local players to the South African National First Division league.
The three players, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Gape Mohutsiwa from Township Rollers and Thero Setsile (Jwaneng Galaxy) were set to join TS Galaxy in the South African second tier league. Through a statement this week, BFA was quick to distance itself from the humiliating transfer window mishap involving the three clubs. “The BFA would like to categorically inform the general public that the failure of the intended transfers was not due to any action and or lack thereof from the Association and its employees,” BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said through a statement.
Mfolo explained that FIFA has since developed a system called Transfer Management System (TMS) which is used for inter club transfers, that is when a player moves from one team to another at adifferent associations. “No transfers involving two different Associations can take place without going through the TMS. Every Club in the world, affiliated to FIFA and CAF has a designated administrator and so does every Football Association. This system is web based, hence is accessible through the internet,” Mfolo said through the statement. According to Mfolo, a sequence of events has to occur in order for a transfer to take place:
The recipient club must first engage the holding/counter club, the one that is releasing the player, through TMS. Furthermore, Mfolo explained that the counter club must then respond to the requesting club through the same system; “Upon the two clubs agreeing to the transfer through the TMS, the counter Association, the one which the releasing club belongs to will confirm if indeed the requested player/s are registered with same. Upon confirmation by the counter Association, the receiving association will request for the release of the ITC which will be duly released by the holding association.” Through the statement the BFA boss took time to chronicle what transpired between the three parties. “On the 31st January 2019 at 2336hrs, TS Galaxy engaged Township Rollers in the TMS in relation to the transfer of Mosha Gaolaolwe and Gape Mohutsiwa and the request was completed at 2347hrs.”
The BFA CEO further explained that on the same date at 2336hrs Township Rollers responded to the request in the affirmative and finished the transaction at 2347hrs.“The counter/releasing Association could not react to the request as it was outside working hours and there had been no prior arrangement made with the counter/releasing Association to await the transaction. The practise has been that where clubs anticipate transactions in TMS outside working hours, they would inform the Association in advance so that prior arrangements are made to assist the transacting clubs especially on deadline day of any registration period.”
According to Mfolo, the counter/releasing Association (BFA) only became aware of the pending transactions in the morning 01 February 2019 when the Office opened for business and duly responded to the request by 0808hrs. “Although the counter/releasing Association had responded to the request, FIFA declined to issue the ITC as the transfer was concluded outside the receiving Association’s transfer period. Despite the rejection of the request by FIFA, the receiving club, in this case TS Galaxy had an option to appeal to the FIFA Players Status Committee if indeed it felt aggrieved of the decision in the TMS, which option the club has not utilised to date.”
Mfolo said: “We have also noted that there was a similar transaction involving the same club (TS Galaxy) and Jwaneng Galaxy. In the said instance, TS Galaxy did not engage Jwaneng Galaxy regarding the transfer of Thero Setsile despite the initiative by Jwaneng Galaxy to engage TS Galaxy in the TMS. The transfer eventually fell by the wayside due to the non-action by the receiving club.” Following the unfortunate sequence of events, the BFA has since rebuffed social media statements suggesting that the non-materialisation of the transaction was as a result of failure to act by the BFA.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.