The Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has postponed a hearing in which Mochudi Centre Chiefs has registered a complaint that Township Rollers used a defaulter during their Mascom Top 8 semi final clash.
The matter was postponed to give the DC a chance to investigate whether Chiefs followed the right procedure when they lodged their protest. After their 1 ÔÇô 3 loss to Rollers at Francistown Sports Complex on February 19th, Chiefs lodged a protest with the BPL regarding Rollers’ use of Ofentse Nato in the game. In their affidavit, Chiefs argued that Nato was a defaulter as he was improperly registered. They further called on the DC to sanction and disqualify Rollers from the tournament as per the Mascom Top 8 Play Rules and Regulations concerning the use of defaulters.
In their preliminary arguments when the hearing started at News Caf├® on Thursday evening, Rollers called for an outright dismissal of the application as Chiefs had not followed the right procedure when lodging the protest. Rollers’ Secretary General, Khumoyame Masonya questioned the validity of Chiefs’ protest, saying a determination has to be made whether article 5.1 of the Mascom Top 8 Play Rules and Regulations was followed. The said article stipulates that a protest has to be made before the game and should be followed by a formal protest thereafter. It also calls for a P10 000 protest fee to accompany the protest. Masonya argued that in view of these stipulations, the DC has to determine whether Chiefs followed procedure.
However, Chiefs representatives Gabriel Kanjabanga and Clifford Mogomotsi insisted that they adhered to the stipulated Play Rules and Regulations. Kanjabanga told the DC that Chiefs followed article 5.1 of the Mascom Top 8 Play Rules and Regulations as Public Relations Officer (PRO), Clifford Mogomotsi made a verbal protest to Mascom Top 8 Local Organising Committee (LOC) representative Bickie Mbenge before and after the game.
After the verbal protest, said Kanjabanga, a formal protest letter was issued and a fee of P10 000 paid as per the rules. He further said Mbenge, as the LOC Chairperson was the right person to receive the protest; as the Play Rules and Regulations are silent as to who should receive the verbal the protest. However, when called to give evidence, Mbenge denied ever receiving a protest from Chiefs either before or after the game. He said while he met and chatted with Mogomotsi, at no time did the Chiefs PRO make him aware that they were going into the game under protest.
When it was put to him that the protest was made in the tunnel, Mbenge said that could not have happened as he was busy ushering guests and players and never spoke to Mogomotsi at the time. Kanjabanga put it to him that he may not have heard the protest because he was busy ushering VIPs and guests, but Mbenge stuck to his guns and maintained that he never spoke to Mogomotsi inside the tunnel. He further revealed that he had dinner with Mogomotsi after the game, but he still did not submit a protest.
His statements were however disputed by Mogomotsi and another Chiefs committee member, Ernest Molome. While he was not present when the first protest was made, Molome said he was later informed by Mogomotsi that he had submitted a protest to Mbenge. He added that he was with Mogomotsi when he made a second verbal protest after the game. In the end, the DC postponed the case to next week to make a ruling as to whether Chiefs’ had adhered to the Play Rules and Regulations in their protest. Should the DC rule in Rollers’ favour the protest will likely be dismissed. The case will continue if the DC determines that Chiefs followed procedure when lodging the protest.