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BY BOTLHALE KOOTHUPILE
Botswana Premier League (BPL) chief executive officer (CEO) Thabo Stiles Ntshinogang is likely to be collateral damage in the ongoing battle to remove incumbent BPL Chairperson Jagdish Shah from his position.
According to sources, both Shah and Ntshinogang are on the crosshairs of some of the BPL chairmen and they may find themselves kicked out of the BPL offices by tomorrow (Monday).
After countless times of failing to find reasons to kick out Shah, some chairmen are said to have now decided to use the rescheduling of week 22 matches of the BPL and the confusion that came thereafter as the basis to undertake the long planned coup and tomorrow (Monday)’s meeting is seen as the opportune time.
While the meeting had only two items on the agenda, being the discussion of the BPL financials and the designation of roles for the League Management Committee, chairmen are said to have required that a third item be slotted in. The item sought ‘an investigation be done into the events of the week 22 fixtures’ be added into the agenda.
“What the concerned chairmen want to achieve by this item is to seek that an investigation into possible match fixing be instituted against Shah and Ntshinogang. If such is agreed on, they want to seek that if any of them is found guilty, that person be banned from football,” a source said.
While the hunt for Shah allegedly started off as a mission of just about two club chairmen, others are said to have joined the fray after the Shah led BPL decided to stop teams’ monthly grants.
“This is all about hunting Shah,” one chairman said. “We are however of the belief that Ntshinogang is being used by Shah hence we want to take him out with him (Shah),” he said.
“If you look at when the league started, when teams were being given monthly grants, teams like Sharps Shooting Stars, Extension Gunners and a few others who have no financial muscle were performing well.”
“However, once the Shah led BPL decided to stop the grants, these teams’ performances started taking a nosedive as they struggled financially. This coincided with financially strong teams going up and occupying the top spots in the league,” the chairman explained.
The chairman went on to say as chairmen, they are of the view that had team grants not been stopped, teams like Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Sankoyo Bush Bucks would have not been relegated.
“When Chiefs failed to honour their fixture against Miscellaneous, it was due to financial struggles. Had Chiefs received their grants, they probably would have honoured the fixture, and had they won it, the three points would have probably helped them avoid relegation,” the chairman opined.
Reached for comment, Ntshinogang acknowledged that he had heard the rumours that a section of the BPL chairmen are seeking to remove him but said he is losing no sleep over the matter as it is ‘just rumours.’
“Even if it is true that they are seeking to oust me, I have a clear conscience on this matter as I believe everything that was done was above board. Whatever the BPL Board seeks to do, it is fine by me. They have the right to such,” the embattled Ntshinogang said.
The BPL CEO went on to say if there is proof that he has at any time connived to fix matches, he will gladly step down from his position.
Meanwhile, another club chairman, who commented on condition of anonymity, said the whole week 22 fixture fiasco was due to Gaborone United board member (name known to Sunday Standard) who made it clear his team would not play Township Rollers in the last game of the season.
“It is there in the minutes of the BPL Board meeting that the GU board representative made it known that his team would not play Rollers in the last game of the season. He said his team cannot give Rollers a guard of honour if they are crowned league champions. That is how all this league fixture fiasco came to be,” said the chairman.
The chairman also acknowledged that Ntshinogang was just collateral damage in the personal battles of some BPL Board members and Shah.