Township Rollers management were left fuming after Gilport Lions wrote to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), questioning their intentions to pursue the appeal they filed before the CAS. Rollers lodged an appeal with the CAS after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Disciplinary Committee (DC) sitting ruled that their midfield anchor, Ofentse Nato, was improperly registered, and as such a defaulter. As a result, the BFA DC then ruled that Rollers be docked some points and goals which were then given to Gilport Lions, who had protested against the team’s use of Nato.
In the aftermath of the BFA DC ruling, two other teams, being Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Miscellaneous, also lodged successful protests against Rollers for their use of Nato during their encounters. Rollers, who then lost more points in the process, were then ordered to play a playoff match against Mochudi Centre Chiefs to decide the destination of the league trophy. The playoff, which has since been postponed, was scheduled for the 15th June.
According to insiders, on the eve of the aborted playoffs, Gilport Lions, who along with the Botswana Premier league (BPL) and the BFA are respondents in the case, wrote to the CAS alleging that Rollers’ consent to play against Chiefs in the playoffs ‘shows they have accepted that Ofentse Nato is a defaulter.’ “It is our view that the appellants’ conduct of pursuing internal remedies whilst the appeal before CAS is yet to be determined, is inconsistent with any intention to appeal the judgment of the 26th April 2016. Should the appellant proceed to participate in the playoff game, it would rather show that the appellant has unconditionally accepted the judgment that Mr Nato is a defaulter, which was the import of judgment appealed against and the docking of points,” so reads an excerpt from Gilport Lions’ letter to CAS.
The letter is said to have infuriated the Rollers management, who have since made it known they have no intentions of dropping their case even if they play Chiefs in the playoffs. “We can confirm that indeed Gilport Lions wrote a letter to the CAS on the eve of the aborted playoff alleging that we were not interested in the case. They informed the CAS that the reason why we agreed to face Chiefs in the playoffs pointed to such. At the moment, we do not know their motive for doing as such but we are very disappointed that they chose to make such allegations,” Rollers Secretary General Khumoyame Masonya said when reached for comment.
Masonya said as it is, Gilport Lions is implying that they (Rollers) should have refused to participate in the playoffs, something which would have meant that Rollers disobey an order of BFA DC. As Rollers, we have always pleaded to abide by orders. Even if it is orders we are not agreeable to, we will obey them as it should be with any other team,” Masonya added. Reached for comment, Gilport Lions Executive Chairman, Kelesitse Gilika, opted not to comment on the matter. “As I have told one of your colleagues, you can continue writing without an input from Gilport Lions as has been the case all along,” the Lions’ Executive Chairman said tersely.