Township Rollers were yesterday officially docked three points after they were found guilty of fielding Ofentse Nato against Gilport Lions when the midfielder was ineligible for selection.
Gilport argued that Nato was a defaulter and should not have been selected for the February 14th fixture between the two clubs as his registration took place after the transfer window had closed.
The Botswana Football Association Disciplinary Committee (BFA DC) ruled in favour of the Lions, deducting Popa three points and two goals.
The Current beMobile Premiership leaders were also fined P1, 000 for each game that Nato has played in this season, adding up to P4, 000 in total.
The ruling reduces Rollers lead at the top to just one point over Orapa United with two games remaining.
However it could yet get worse for Rollers with both Miscellaneous and Police XI likely to lodge similar protests against Popa for picking Nato.
The club’s public relations officer, Bafana Pheto, last week expressed his bemusement at the ruling and awaited the BFA DC’s written judgement to get a better understanding of why they considered Nato a defaulter.
“We did everything right to register Nato, who was a free agent. The DC’s action has puzzled us because even the Premier League said we should continue using him despite the protest,” said Pheto.
“Who is to be blamed? The Botswana Premier League and Botswana Football Association are the ones registering players. Rollers management will interpret the judgement and map the way forward,” he continued, adding that Nato will not feature for Rollers again this season.
There was at least some good news for Mapalastina after the BFA DC dismissed a similar case against them. Mochudi Centre Chiefs had protested against Rollers for using Nato and striker Terrance Mandaza when the clubs met in the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.
Magosi objected to the duo’s selection, arguing that they were registered in ‘Excess of the stipulated 25 player quota’.
Instead, the chairman of the appeals board, Muller Keganne, ruled that even though Rollers had exceeded their 25-player limit, as they were not the only club to do so- worryingly all the teams in the premier league surpassed their allocated quota-they would not be punished.