By Friday afternoon Township Rollers management had resorted to lodge an appeal against the judgment of their case with Gilport Lion over the use of Ofentse Nato. Rollers have made a decision to appeal to FIFA to finally put the case to rest. Information from the besieged Rollers indicate that the process has already started to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. It looks like Rollers management has been angered by information that they will be docked 10 points after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Disciplinary Committee found Nato to be a defaulter. Despite the issue being a public discourse, available in all information platforms, Rollers officials have confessed unawareness of the matter as no official communication has been made to them. A statement released from Rollers signed by Chairman Walter Kgabung revealed that after the case they received together with the judgement, a letter from Botswana Football Association (BFA) CEO Kitso Kemoeng informing them they shall lose three (3) points and two goals in favour of Gilport. “While we do not in any way accept the judgment of the BFA DC, our understanding of it is that we will lose three points and two goals to Gilport Lions only. Our understanding has been corroborated by the interpretation of the judgment made recently by the BFA Legal Advisor in the local media,” read the statement.
In the dark
Rollers spokesperson, Bafana Pheto, confirmed in an interview that no further communication was made to them regarding the docking of 10 points. Pheto said they only heard of the decision in the media. This was further reiterated in a statement which read “we are surprised and disappointed in that such utterances made on Btv, were against the statutes and regulations of the Botswana Premier League. The action of the BPL was published without even informing us as the concerned club, all against the spirit of sportsmanship”. Pheto revealed that even if an official communication reaches the club they will never agree with the judgment. “We have never even agreed with the three points docking in the first place,” explained Pheto.
Rollers are still of a view that the decision taken that Nato is a defaulter is misguided as he was properly registered in line with the FIFA statutes regarding registration of professional player outside the window. “Our position still remains that Nato is not a defaulter and we shall be vindicated at CAS. This process may take some time and we urge all members, supporters and well-wishers to be patient and wait for the legal process to take its course,” read the statement.
Rollers fans devastated
The decision to dock Rollers ten points have cut like a knife through the heart of Rollers faithful. Just a week ago the club was in a jubilant mood in prospect of winning the league now in a blink of an eye the possibility has been taken away from them. Even though they stand by their team some supporters have started pointing accusing fingers to the club management. They wrote on the official Rollers website that they long advised that Nato and Terrence Mandaza should not be used until the case was finalised.
The supporters feel what is happening now could have been prevented from the beginning. “I believe that Rollers management was relaxed when these issues of protests started, they could have read between the lines. Apart from that supporters have long requested with due respect that both Nato and Mandaza not be used when protests started but we were given a death ear. Now this is backfiring on us as supporters and even the players,” Robson wrote on the website. As it now stands Rollers have relegated to position three in the beMOBILE premier league log table with 54 points. This leaves the team with no chance of winning the league. In pole position is Mochudi Centre with 60 points while Orapa United are second with the same points. Only goal difference separate the two. With two games left for the league to end, it is an intriguing meltdown.