Botswana Football Association (BFA) has once again reinvigorated its efforts to cut off former association Vice President Administration Tariq Babitseng from footballing activities.
In a continuation of a never ending feud goes as far back as 2014, the BFA is alleged to have recently written a letter to Extension Gunners football club, where Babitseng is a chairman, ‘reminding them of their obligations as a member’ in regards to their relationship with Babitseng.
According to the BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane, the association is of the belief that Babitseng should not be involved in association related matters and entities as he ‘has was dismissed from football by the BFA General Assembly’ in 2015.
While the association is adamant that this is a matter of principle and is solely based on what is right, divisions are starting to re-emerge as other opine that it is a politically motivated vendetta meant to weaken the Tebogo Sebego led faction ahead of next year’s BFA elective Annual General Assembly (AGA).
Speaking in an interview, a source close to Gunners said before the team was served by the BFA, they had already received information that the BFA had been seeking ways to get rid of Babitseng, even to the extent of seeking ‘legal advice as to how they can do it.’
“We all know that elections are coming and the campaigns have begun. Babitseng is seeking to make a comeback as Sebego’s vice president in the association and this is a move meant to stop him. This is all political,” the source said.
“This is all a continuation of a battle between him and BFA 2nd Vice President Pelotshweu Motlogelwa which dates as far back as five years ago,” the source said. “The letter sent to Gunners literally has Motlogelwa written all over it,” he said.
According to the source, Gunners got a hint that Babitseng was targeted during the team’s last league match against BR Highlanders in Serowe when information was leaked that the BFA was consulting on if they can be able to get rid of him and still bear no legal repercussions.
Mpatane has however rubbished allegations that the move was election motivated, saying they wrote to Gunners as the team ‘had returned him into the BFA structures which is contrary to the AGA resolution’ which they were part of.
With the latest feud between Babitseng and BFA coming at a time when campaigns for elections are beginning, questions have been raised over the timing of the action against him and why it took the BFA so long to finish the matter of misappropriation of funds levelled against him.
Contacted for comment, one BFA insider who commented on condition of anonymity alleged that Babitseng has always refused to respond to the association over the matter.
“In 2015 when he was called in to account, he only submitted proforma invoices which the Botswana National Sports Commission refused to accept. He even refused to repay the monies which the BNSC required which resulted with the BFA having to pay,” the source revealed.
The source revealed that the cheque to repay the BNSC for the contingency funds misappropriated by Babitseng while he was the head of delegation during the trip to Guinea-Bissau was signed by the Sebego and Motlogelwa.
According to the source, as far as the BFA is concerned, Babitseng should pay the association an equivalent of the amount it paid to the BNSC for him to
Babitseng on the other hand has always argued that he accounted for all the said monies, adding that when the matter arose, he was ordered to pay a certain sum, which he paid.
“As far as I am concerned, I paid the monies that I was requested to pay and the matter was closed. If they care, they can go through their receipts and they will find the evidence of my payment as per what was requested,” he said.
Those close to Babitseng have also questioned his 2015 expulsion from the BFA NEC, which they believe was a well orchestrated political manoeuvre.
They argue that when he was expelled back then, the then anti-Sebego faction within the BFA had waited until they had a numerical advantage before calling for a motion to expel him.
In a week that he was expelled, two well known Sebego loyalists within the NEC, being Basadi Akoonyatse and Suzie Montsho were not in attendance as they were on association related business away.
“During that meeting, Montsho was away in Canada on sports related business and Akoonyatse was also absent, and this gave numerical advantage to the anti Babitseng faction. They took the opportunity then, pushed for his expulsion and won,” the source revealed.
His expulsion then laid a foundation on which the BFA AGA would later build on to ‘expel him from association related activities.’
Meanwhile, Extension Gunners is allegedly seeking a face to face meeting with the BFA NEC to clear the air on the matter relating to Babitseng.
According to sources, Gunners President has already called BFA president Maclean Letshwiti to schedule a meeting with him for sometime this week.
The matter was also confirmed by the BFA through Mpatane, who said the team had reached to Letshwiti in an effort to clear the air.