Kgatleng giants Mochudi Centre Chiefs have this week lodged a protest against bitter rivals, Township Rollers over Ofentse Nato, who they say was used as a defaulter during their Mascom Top 8 semi-final game last week.
The case is expected to be heard before the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee DC) tomorrow (Thursday). Following a 3-1 drubbing at the hands of Rollers in the lucrative 2015/16 Mascom Top 8 first leg semi-final at the Francistown Sports Complex, Magosi moved quickly to lodge a complaint with the BPL accusing their rivals of using a defaulter.
Nato was recently signed by Rollers from India’s Atletico de Kolkata during the last transfer window. In an interview this week, Magosi spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed that they have made an official appeal with the BPL over Nato’s status.
“The rules (BFA Play rules and regulations) are very clear,” Mogomosti said. According to regulation 6.4, any team that fields a defaulter during a knockout competition or play off, shall be deemed to have lost the game in question.
The regulations go on to state that a protest or information about the use of the defaulter should be brought to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee within 30 days of the said game. The regulation further states that the team that fields a defaulter shall be liable to fines between P1000 and P2000.
Contacted for comment this week, the BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennet Mamelodi confirmed the appeal. “Chiefs are saying that I did not register Nato properly but that is all I can say because the case is before the BPL Disciplinary Committee (DC).”
For his part, Mascom Top 8 Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson Bickie Mbege said they have not received any protest from Chiefs, adding that there was tension from their (Chiefs) part after the Friday game.
This week, the Rollers spokesperson Phempherethe Pheto said they were aware of the protest but they have not received any official correspondence regarding the matter.
Meanwhile another beMOBILE premiership team Gilport Lions has also lodged a protest against Nato who played against them in a recent league encounter.
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.