Just before the transfer window opened, knives were already out for the civilian players plying their trade at Institutional teams like BDF XI and Police XI.
The move was seen as discriminatory in soccer circles because football is seen as a sport for all.
BDF XI shocked many people by releasing their coach Losika Keatlholetswe, despite the wonders he did for the team. Keatlholetswe coached BDF XI for almost a season and a half and never finished below bottom eight. Before he took the fort, the team was struggling as they were always at the receiving end of other teams. As if that was not enough, BDF XI also showed the door to their Burundian international, Khalid Niyondzima, who was also always exceptional for the team.
What was surprising was the fact that he still had 18 months running from his contract. Police XI also released several of their civilian players and among them Lesotho international, Bushy Moletsane, who also had two fantastic seasons since joining them from Uniao Flamengo Santos.
One soccer official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Telegraph Sport that what both teams are doing is wrong and sends a negative message.
The official said the writing is already on the wall that both teams need players.
“These teams are definitely dividing football and it is wrong to do that. Football does not have boundaries and it should always be like that. All along, it was not easy for players working for institutional teams to play for civilian teams and they are now doing another thing. Maybe it is about time institutional teams have their own league,” the official said.
On the other hand, the spokesperson for BDF XI, Philemon Mompati, told Telegraph Sport that there is nothing wrong but he wants what is best for their team. He said there is a certain way institutional teams operate and as such players from outside find it difficult to adapt.
“We are not discriminatory at all. Institutional teams have their own culture of running their affairs and it is best we have players from within. If you look at the history of BDF XI when it was winning trophies, the best players were working for the army. It shows you that they understood the culture of the team so well,” he said.
Mompati also added that they replaced the coach because the one they have also understands the operations of the team because he has been there for the team for a long time.
“Our current coach, Louis Setshwane, is young by coaching standards and has a long way to go. As such, we saw it fit to appoint him because he fits long term plans for the team. He was a player before for BDF XI and as a coach he knows what the team wants,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Police XI were futile at time of going to press.