Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Is BFA complicit in Hukuntsi Regional Football mess?

As the Hukuntsi Regional Football Association continues to unravel, fingers are pointing to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) as part and parcel of the current mess.

While the association, through Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo has opted ‘not to comment on the matter at the moment,’ sources have alleged that lack of will to resolve issues at the region by the football controlling body has contributed immensely to the current mess.

Those close to the matter have pointed an accusing finger at BFA Regional Coordinator Setete Phuthego for not dealing with the matter with honesty, while slating Mfolo for failing to deal with the matter.

It has been revealed that when the issue first cropped up when Lokgwabe United Football Club wrote a letter to the region on January 23 raising complaints against the Hukuntsi Regional Football Association.

Among their concerns against the region were unavailability of match sheets and referees’ reports, Violence at football games, unequal treatment of teams as well as administrative deficiencies in the regional office.

Following the complaints, it is alleged that Phuthego went to the region ‘on a fact finding mission’ and duly held a meeting with the on the 9th of February.

In the aftermath of the meeting on the 16th of February, a letter from Mfolo, which was signed on his behalf by Phuthego and alleging that issues in the region had been resolved was sent to the Hukuntsi Regional Football Association.

The letter was however quickly shot down by Lokgwabe, who, while agreeing that a meeting was held with all concerned parties available, wrote to the BFA CEO informing him no solution was found on issues raised.

In the letter dated 19th February, Lokgwabe United said Phuthego’s assertion that all concerns raised were resolved ‘were misleading as all the things that we were complaining about have gone from bad to worse.’

Lokgwabe also said they were ‘not happy with the way our complaint was handled by Phuthego.’ Lokgwabe said while they were asked to present their complaints at the meeting and expected response from the region in return, Phuthego ‘said he will not allow anyone from the region to respond and that he is instructing them to address our complaints as they are true.’

Lokgwabe also said contrary to what is written in the letter, they are not aware of any agreement that was made during the meeting regarding their protests.

In the letter, Lokgwabe said they ‘need the Chief Executive Officer’s immediate intervention in the region as the Regional Committee continues to run the region without observing laws and most of the time do not attend to the incidents at all.’

It is said as the situation continued unresolved despite Phuthego’s assertions, other teams in the region grew disgruntled, making a bad situation worse.

The teams are alleged to have eventually met on 22 February where they resolved to have a meeting with the Regional Committee to voice out their concerns against them.

Another meeting was then called on the 22nd of March where eight of the nine teams in the region converged to review and evaluate whether there had been any change. It is alleged the teams unanimously agreed that things have worsened.

By the time, three teams had already written a letter to the Regional Bloc and another had written to the BFA CEO. When the Regional Bloc representatives reneged on their promise to come address the issues on 24th March and the BFA CEO failed to respond, the teams took a decision ‘that they are not going to continue with the league until their concerns have been addressed.’

Faced with the prospect of teams boycotting the league, the BFA CEO was finally spurred into action and he finally responded to the concerns in the region.

In a letter dated 05 April, the BFA CEO acknowledged that the teams’ concerns ‘are legitimate’ and promised that the association ‘will appoint a task team to investigate all issues raised in order to find a lasting solution as all the concerns raised had also been raised by Lokgwabe United earlier this year.’

“However, we would like to bring to your attention that your decision to halt/boycott the properly scheduled games while awaiting intervention from my office is not encouraged nor condoned as it is against the Play Rules and Regulations which you have premised your concerns on,” Mfolo wrote.

The BFA CEO then warned teams that failure to honour scheduled games will render them ‘liable to sanctions as stipulated in the BFA Play Rules and Regulations.’

The BFA CEO’s response rubbed the clubs the wrong way and they queried him on why if their concerns are legitimate, ‘they were not attended before the league could resume as per the clubs’ request.’

The clubs also questioned why the BFA CEO was taking so long to set up a task team to investigate all issues they had raised, more so that the BFA seemed to have been aware of the issues as raised by Lokgwabe United earlier in the year.

The clubs all took the CEO to task over his warning that boycotting the league matches may result in action being taken against them, saying they ‘take this as a threat and intimidation and it is trying to shift the goal post and focus on something else.’

“Why can’t the issues be attended to more so that your office acknowledges that they are legitimate?” the clubs asked rhetorically. “Please note that our position is that if we agree to play, we will be legitimising the very same concerns we are raising and we are not compromising it,” they wrote.

In the letter, they also chastised the BFA CEO for failing to halt the league games pending solutions to their issues ‘as his office had no powers to suspend games’ and the said powers ‘were vested elsewhere.’

“If the powers are vested elsewhere, your office could have long passed our concerns elsewhere so that such powers be exercised y the capacitated structure,” they retorted.

Speaking on anonymity, a source said the BFA CEO and Phuthego were in complacent in their duties and this led to the current mess in Hukuntsi.

Reached for comment, the BFA CEO refused to comment on the matter and furnished no reasons for such.

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