The beMOBILE premier league defending champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs have pulled out of the 2016 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League edition. Chiefs cite financial constraints as the reason for pulling out. Centre Chief spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi, confirmed this. “Yes, we have decided to pull out of CAF,” he said, explaining that they came to the decision after Premier league sponsors beMOBILE scrubbed off the P200 000 that they have been giving to clubs for participation in CAF championships.
Over and above this, Mogomotsi explained that there is club licencing issue that requires a lot from clubs. He said the club cannot therefore stretch the little resources it has, hence the decision to pull out of CAF competition. “We want to spend the resources we have on making sure that the club comply with CAF requirement before August 2016,” he said. The move, however, has put Centre Chiefs in danger of sanctions from CAF as punishment for withdrawing from the competition. The club management is well aware of this and are said to be ready for the punishment that will come their way.
Mogomotsi said since this is not a last minute withdrawal CAF will be reasonable when giving out the sanctions. “We are very much aware of the consequences but we hope CAF will give reasonable sanctions owing to our explanaition,” added Mogomotsi. Chiefs face a danger of monetary fine for their action. On top of this, the team is further in danger of being suspended from all CAF competitions for a period of two or three years. It is not the first time that a local team is involved in this as last year BDF XI also nearly pulled out of the competition. However, Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and Botswana Football Association (BFA) came to their rescue.
Teams across the continent normally complain that the tournament is costly yet the price money is very low. This is why they end up deciding to withdraw from the competition. In most cases the teams are fined. Soccer analysts have in the past condemned local clubs from withdrawing, saying it does not only paint Botswana bad but also denies players exposure. Analyst Fabian Zulu has in the past insisted that for local players to grow they need to test their strength and skill against other African players from time to time. He said playing CAF Champions League gives players the exposure and experience they need.
Efforts to reach beMOBILE sponsorship Manager Tiro Kganela on the scrubbing off the funds were not successful as his phone was unavailable.