The saga surrounding, burly and lethal Zambian international striker, Bernard Simakwenzi, seems far from over. The current turn of events might even embarrass the local football governing body, the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
It has since come to the attention of The Sunday Standard?s that Simakwenzi is a defaulter despite previous denials from certain sections of local football. The Sunday Standard is in possession of a letter written to the BFA by the football governing body, FIFA, which gives startling revelations. It appears the BFA did not follow FIFA?s administrative procedures governing the transfer of players and hence resulting in Simakwenzi being improperly registered. The letter was dated March 23, 2007 and addressed to the BFA?s Chief Executive Officer, Thabo Ntshinogang.
The letter is signed by FIFA?s director of legal division, Marco Villiger and head of players? status committee, Omar Ongaro.
The letter, Ref.pbr06-01049, states in part,?We understand from the contents of your correspondence that you consider that our intervention in this affair is still needed since in particular, your association, upon receipt of Bernard Simakwenzi?s International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from the football Association of Malaysia, proceeded to register the player in question for one of your member clubs, i.e. BDF XI FC.?
The letter goes on to say, ?Upon receipt of your (BFA) correspondence dated 10 November and 18 November, through our communications dated 1 December 2006 and 17 January, we informed you, inter alia, about the administrative procedure governing the transfer of players between associations. In this connection, we called your attention in particular to the mandatory provision [(cf.art.1par.3lit. a) of the regulations for the status and transfer of players.i,e, that a club intending to register a professional has to submit its application for the registration of the professional together with a copy of the player?s contract as it appears to be the case in the matter at hand, your association is not in a position to ask for the issuance of the ITC for the player concerned at the former association (cf. in this context also art.2par.1 of annex 3 of the regulations).
The letter makes it clear that Simakwenzi is a defaulter and, towards the end, says, ?In view of the above, we would like to inform you that, for the time being and given the circumstances surrounding the present matter, it appears that the player in question (Simakwenzi) cannot be registered with your member club, BDF XI FC or your association (BFA).?
The question now is how Simakwenzi got registered and why it seems that only one club, Township Rollers, is the only team vocal on the issue. Is it because Rollers hold hard feelings because of the Coca Cola debacle where they were denied to play in the finals?
If the contents of the letter are anything to go by, then it means that BDF XI, which Simakwenzi plays for, might lose all their points in games he featured. BDF XI are currently challenging for the league honours and are behind league leaders Ecco City Green. If BDF XI lose points that would mean BDF might find themselves in the lower division if all teams that played against BDF XI are awarded points in regard to the matter. Simakwenzi has been in scintillating form since joining BDF XI. Of late, he scored several crucial goals that catapulted BDF XI to the second position in the league. Also if it turns out that Simakwenzi is indeed a defaulter that would mean Rollers were improperly denied the Coca Cola finals appearance in which they were supposed to play Notwane. Rollers had earlier on protested that Simakwenzi is a defaulter and he was denied to play in a semifinal game against BDF which Rollers won 3-0. BDF then protested saying Simakwenzi was unprocedurally denied to play and won the case. A replay was ordered between Rollers and BDF XI but Rollers refused to play and BDF XI were given a free passage to the finals where they lost to Notwane by two goals to one. Rollers tried to challenge the decision to nullify the finals results at the high court. Some respected elders had to intervene because the case was seen as tarnishing the good name of Botswana and peace was restored.