BPL IN CHAOS
Overwhelming confusion has ruined this season’s beMobile Premier League turning the country’s elite football competition into a laughing stock.
The Botswana Premier League Board’s farcical indecisiveness has left mystified football fans around the country scratching their heads and asking, ‘what’s going on?”
Township Rollers, who were officially docked ten points on Wednesday morning, are at the centre of the controversy.
Last Saturday Rollers had celebrated ‘winning the league’ when their 1-0 victory over Green Lovers, combined with Orapa United’s surprise loss at home to Gilport Lions, saw them open up an unassailable lead at the top of the table – or so they thought!
Their celebrations were proved premature as the Ofentse Nato saga came back to haunt them.
Popa had already been docked three points after the Botswana Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee (BFADC) found them guilty of fielding midfielder Nato against Gilport Lions when he was ineligible for selection.
Nato was ruled a defaulter as his registration took place after the transfer window had closed.
However, before the BFADC passed their judgement, Rollers selected Nato for another three games, against Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Police XI and Miscellaneous.
The club claim that they received confirmation from the Premier League that it would be alright to continue picking him for these games.
If that is true then it makes a mockery of Wednesday’s statement by the Premier League’s acting chairman, Rapula Okaile.
Okaile announced that he has instructed the BFA’s chief executive officer, Kitso Kemoeng, to deduct ten points from Rollers – the number of points that Rollers accumulated in the games Nato played.
Rollers are outraged at the ruling and have approached football’s international governing body, FIFA, for guidance.
The club have also appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Laussane, Switzerland.
To further complicate matters, Rollers have requested that the league postpone this week’s league fixtures – the last of the season – until their appeal has been heard.
At the time of going to press it is not yet clear whether the league fixtures will go ahead this weekend as the BFA and BPL are meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the situation.
An embarrassed Kemoeng could not confirm or deny whether the league would be held up but did say, “It is very unfortunate that we find our football going through this.
“We should have never come to this. I personally think we should take this as a learning curve and we need to come up with a solution. This is not good for our image because it shows something was not done properly.”
Speaking to Voice Sport, Rollers Public Relations Officer Bafana Pheto confirmed the club’s insistence that the league is postponed, and went on to say, “This is far from being over and we cannot lose the league on the table. Teams are failing to beat us on the field and they are finding other ways to do it.”
If Chiefs win on Saturday against Galaxy FC – if the game goes ahead – then they will be crowned champions – for now!
It is a ridiculous, shambolic end, ruining what has been a compelling season.