Botswana Premier League Disciplinary Committee will on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 hear yet another protest from Mochudi Center Chiefs against Township Roller’s use of their new signee Ofentse Nato during the Mascom Top 8 second leg semifinal last weekend. Centre Chiefs surprised many when they lodged yet another protest when they got a similar protest thrown out by the same DC hardly two weeks away. The protest was first dismissed on technical grounds as Chiefs was said to have not followed the right procedure according to Mascom Top 8 Play Rules and Regulations article 5.1. This did not demoralize the Kgatleng side as they lodged another protest for the same player even after he was cleared. However, it appeared that Chiefs is really protesting against the use of Nato and Terence Mandaza.
The case was to be heard on Thursday however Rollers representatives argued that they cannot answer for anything while they were not given the grounds of protest since Chiefs had lodged the protest without specifying any grounds. “All we know is that they are protesting but we do not know on which grounds. Answering for what we just learnt will be tantamount to ambush on Rollers part,” Kgosietsile Ngakaagae who was representing Rollers. When explaining this Clifford Mogomotsi said they wanted a list of all Rollers registered players and their age so that they can present a factual case but BPL office refused with the information. Mogomotsi who questions the manner in which their request was addressed said he does not know why the information could not be given to them since it is in public domain.
BPL Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi however explained that he had no authority to give out the information hence revering the matter to a relevant authority the DC. When setting the date of the submissions DC Chairman Busang Manewe order BPL office to furnish Chiefs with the list of all Rollers registered players with their age by Friday 10am. Center Chiefs was order to file and serve their heads of arguments by or before 22nd March 2016. Some in the footballing fraternity feel that Chiefs is just wasting time with this protest as they do not have a case. They are of the view that they have already lost the same case. However the Chiefs camp believes they have a strong case to win. The verdict of the protest is expected to be given on the 23rd March 2016 because according to Botswana Football Association regulations the protest has to be heard within 14 days.
In a dramatic turn of events at Francistown stadium last weekend during the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8, Township Rollers coach Mark Harrison labelled Mochudi Centre Chiefs as an embarrassment to the local football. Harrison said this after the incident by Mochudi Centre Chiefs officials that took place before the start of the game where they went inside the pitch with P10 000 cash that was seen being counted by a match official as they were lodging yet another protest against Township Rollers in regard to their players. Harrison said that he does not understand why a team like Mochudi Centre Chiefs will disgrace themselves like that because at the same time they are disgracing the local football. Harrison said that if Chiefs by doing many protests think they will affect his team emotionally they are lying to themselves because they are not affected at all. “That is not affecting us at all and I think they should just stop wasting money like this and donate it to charity instead of spending it on protests,” he said. He added that there are a lot of kids on the streets that Chiefs should find if they want to put money somewhere, labelling them as ridiculous.
Harrison called on them to be more professional and stop wasting time because they have been through the case two times and everyone in the country knows that they did everything right in the registration of their players. He reiterated that Chiefs should donate their money for a good cause than waste it like that. On top of that he applauded his guys for going to the Mascom Top 8 finals because they gave their best. Harrison said going to the finals of the Mascom Top 8 means everything to him and with about seven weeks remaining until the finals, they will use the league games to prepare themselves. On the other hand Mochudi Centre Chiefs coach Mike Sithole said the difference between him and Harrison is that in terms of players Harrison have all that he needs, while as for him he does not have much. “Look at my team, we are struggling and I don’t have a striker, and that is too much for the team but my boys did their best,” he said. He said it is important to have material to change with, something that he said he does not have now.
Sithole said that football is a psychological game, and things like protests can indeed affect players negatively if they see those happening but he would not want to divulge more into that because his work is in the pitch and just about tactics. Despite having lost it in their quest of seeing themselves for the first time in the Mascom top 8 finals, they are ready to take on the teams that are remaining with the hopes of defending the league title. Mascom Public Relations Manager Barbara Tshipana said it is not finalised yet about where the final is going to be held.