Wednesday, May 25, 2022

BFA scores own goal

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is alleged to have chickened out of a matter in which they suspended First Division North committee fearing a backlash from impending elections.

The committee was suspended in 2019 on allegations of misappropriation of funds and failing to account for the money.

The FDN leadership has been in the wilderness for more than three years. It remains to be seen whether or not the withdrawal of the case may bring harmony between the FDN and the BFA.

The suspended committee refuted allegations of embezzlement and fought to clear their names of any wrong doing. The committee won the case that was before the BFA disciplinary committee against the tarnishing allegations.

“The Botswana football association has withdrawn its complaint lodged with the disciplinary committee in 2019 against members of the First Division Committee for failure to account for funds amounting to P168 225.60, read part of the letter written by the BFA chief executive officer (CEO), Mfolo Mfolo on the 29th March 2022.

BFA’s withdrawal of the case comes after an exchange of letters in which the committee was pushing for justice for the matter to be heard but BFA was reluctant to accede to the committee’s demands.

The BFA cited the following reasons as the rationale for withdrawing the matter; “the decision was reached at after considering a number of factors, being the period it took for the matter to be concluded. Even though the association firmly believes that the members had contravened article 2.20 of the code of conduct, the rights of members to fair hearing- including the right to be heard without unnecessary delay, is of paramount,” reasoned the BFA boss Mfolo.

The committee that was believed to belong to Friends of Football (FOF) faction against that of BFA leader, Maclean Letshwiti, faction emerged victorious during FDN committee elections in 2018.  FOF is led by former BFA president Tebogo Sebego.

They believed their suspension was to neutralize FOF faction in the north and purge them with their opponents who are aligned to Letshwiti.

On 11 June 2020, BFA disciplinary committee ruled in favour of the committee and instructed for the committee to be reinstated.

The BFA appealed the matter but lost the matter again. At the national appeals board the matter was sent back to be heard afresh. It was put again before the BFA DC.

The BFA does not say anything about the future of the members of the committee since their case has been withdrawn.

“If the case has been withdrawn does it mean we are reinstated because we are the legitimate office bearers? We want that question to be answered so that it is clear.  If we are not reinstated then they must prove the insinuations that there were financial irregularities. Names have to be cleared,” said sources.

According to sources, the committee wants to finish their term in office and the BFA should disband the interim FDN committee.

On the other hand if the committee is reinstated there are those who believe it will pose danger to the Letshwiti led NEC because in 2024 they will be going for elections and the committee will be behind FOF. Since the suspensions the battle lines have been drawn between them and BFA leadership. The FDN committee comprised of: Mpenzeni Sambandawe (chairperson), Lebogang Dikole (vice chairperson), Rapula Gaotlhobogwe  secretary general, deceased), Mompati Ketlogetswe (treasurer), three additional members being Mengistu Chigala, Chakalisa Dube and Onalenna Ditlhakanyane. By the time of going to press the committee was to meet to determine the next move. 

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper