Information from Lekidi Centre – Botswana Football Association (BFA) headquarters – is that Township Rollers FC have withdrawn their pending case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A statement signed by BFA Chief Executive Officer Kitso Kemoeng revealed that this followed their meeting with BFA new president Maclean Letshwiti. Township Rollers had lodged a case with CAS protesting a decision that was taken by the BFA disciplinary committee that Ofentse Nato was a defaulter. Nato’s issue saw the league thrown into turmoil that led to it finishing very late. Rollers always maintained that Nato was not a defaulter as he was out of contract when they signed him hence lodging the case.
It looks like this is still the case as the BFA statement stated that the case withdrawal was premised on among others that BFA will engage with FIFA to establish the status of Ofentse Nato at the time he was declared a defaulter. To further rubberstamp this part of the statement read “the withdrawal of the case from CAS should not be constituted in any way to mean a concession on the part of Rollers that Ofentse Nato was indeed a defaulter at the time he was declared such.” This explains why BFA still has to establish the truth of the matter from FIFA.
According to the statement, the meeting between Rollers and the new BFA president is a part of his efforts to restore peace and stability to local football that has been experiencing unprecedented turbulence recently. During his acceptance speech on Saturday, Letshwiti had called for peace in local football and pledged restore it. Rollers officials confirmed that indeed the new BFA came to them and pleaded with them to withdraw the case. The clubs’ spokesperson Bafana Pheto said a number of meetings were held and they indeed decided to withdraw the case. “Indeed it is true. The BFA president has met with management to plead for this giving the reasons he was giving and after consideration we decided to withdraw the case,” said Pheto. He however reiterated that this does not mean as Rollers they admit that Nato was a defaulter as they called for the issue to be followed by BFA.
There have been rumours that beMOBILE – the league sponsors – have resolved to hold on to the sponsorship money until the CAS case is resolved. Pheto said they assume this could have been what brought the pressure on BFA to plead for the withdrawal of the case. BFA leadership has since thanked Rollers for the development and trust that the matter of the concluding the 2015/2016 season will be brought close once and for all. BFA also apologised to all parties for all the inconvenience that the dragging of the season caused.