Security Systems and Police XI shocked by BFA de-registration
Security Systems Manager Lenamile Letsogile has accused football administrators of trying to write off his team, whilst BFA supremoTebogoSebego has described the de-regulation of the newly promoted team as disturbing and unfortunate.
Letsogile told Voice Sport in a telephone interview on Wednesday evening thathe suspects the Botswana Football Association is being used as an excuse, in a grand plan to deny his side Premier League status.
Premier league debutants Security Systems and Police XI, who finished tenth in the Premier league last season, have forfeited their affiliation to the BFA by their failure to pay their fees on time as stipulated in the association’s constitution.
“We are totally shocked at how things have turned out.Don’t be fooled by anyone into believing thatfootball is being run professionally by the book. Usually correspondence is never in writing -we use a trust system in our football and this informal way of running things is now being used against us by people who have a personal vendetta,” Letsogile claimed.
Systems gained automatic promotion to the Premier League after they won the first division South league ahead of Prisons XI. This means Wire Kaelo’s side’s dream of playing top flight football was cut short and worse still may have to start their new campaign in the 4th Division as they have to re-apply for admission. Letsogile said he had always believed that everything was in order at his club and was just waiting for the 2012/13 season to begin in a month’s time.
“After automatic qualification we said the little we receive from the league should be paid directly to the region and the remaining balance then forwarded to us. There was no written correspondence, everything was done via the phone and we were made to believe that everything was in order,” said Letsogile.
The disappointed manager said his club had suffered before through decisions from some football administrators. In the 2007/08 season Systems risked losing points for using a defaulter, a case they won at the appeals board.
“We could have won automatic promotion to the Premier League, but again some people decide results from the comfort of their office. It was sad for us because a day after we won the case, we were ordered to take part in the promotional play-offs and we did not do well. History is repeating itself again. I still remember the words of one board member after we won the case, he said these people think they are smart but we will get them.
If you recall the current president was the association’s legal advisor,” he said. While the Security Systems man is aware of the article 13 of the constitution in line with annual subscriptions, he however still believe his team is a victim of a grand plan that will play itself out in the next couple of days. Letsogile said they are still consulting to determine if there is any chance of saving their Premier League status. Police XI Deputy Manager Solomon Mantswe was brief in his interview with the Voice.
“All I can confirm is that we have been issued with letters terminating our affiliation to the BFA. I cannot say further than that,” he said.
However the newly appointed BFA President Tebogo Sebego believes the issue is nothing but a simple interpretation of the constitution. During the BFA National Assembly compliance with the association’s constitution was stressed, and it was emphasized that football leaders should fulfill their obligations.
“Really it would be unfair to point fingers at anyone. No one’s affiliation was ‘terminated’ as you want to put it. What this simply means is that these two teams are not our members and there is a procedure that needs to be followed for them to be members again,” said Sebego.
Article 13.2.4 states that all membership fees from the Regional Football Associations, Premier League and the 1st Division shall be due and payable on/or before the end of May in each year. It is also stated on 13.2.5 that any late payment of membership fees and/or subscriptions shall be liable to a penalty to be determined by the National Executive Committee from time to time.
The former BFA Legal Advisor told Voice Sport that it is not a given that the two teams will be re-admitted at Division 4 as they will still have to satisfy the set conditions as stipulated in the constitution.
“We have to understand the importance of running things professionally. It is a disturbing and an unfortunate thing to have happened especially after a new committee was ushered in,” he said.
A football commentator Monty Gagomokgwa expressed his sadness at how things have turned out for the league rookies.
“If I could have my way I would just appeal to the BFA to penalize the two teams but re-affirm their affiliation with the association
“For a team like Police XI there is no excuse because they have been there, but I feel for Systems because the excitement of gaining promotion could have led to some administration laxities,” he said.
Gagomokgwa said it has happened in the past that teams who had forfeited their membership were pardoned for the interest of football. The no nonsense Palapye FC Spokesperson was however quick to point out that the constitution should be the only document used to drive local football forward.
“It’s a very sad development for some teams, but we all have to abide by the rules as they are stated,” he said. There are conspiracy theories surrounding the de-registration of Police XI and Security Systems. One school of thought is that some football leaders have found a loophole in which Gaborone giants Notwane FC could find a swifter and hassle free way back to top-flight football. Notwane will be the biggest beneficiaries should this decision come to pass.
Toronto who got relegated at the end of the season will get automatic promotion back to the league while Great North Tigers will go for play–offs with BR Highlanders to make the last 16.