But at the end of the day, he is just following what is in the BFA Constitution and it is a coincidence that this ruling favours Notwane, a team we know he has a history with and is close to his heart. Or is it? From the little interaction that I have had with Sebego on football matters, I know he is a very principled man.
The decision to relegate Security Systems and Police XI was taken based on a clause in the BFA constitution that states that if a team defaults on its affiliation fees by a certain date it will cease to be an affiliate and if it re-applies to be a member, it will start off at the lowest tier of the BFA structures after it re-applies. We have in the past two weeks been referred to Articles 13.2.1 and 13.2.6, which were used to dismiss the two teams and the consequences thereof. This therefore means that the highest placed of the relegated teams, being Notwane, and the best loser in the lower league, being BR highlanders who lost out in the play-offs; will take the slots vacated by the dismissed defaulting teams. It is an open secret that the BFA President Tebogo Sebego has a history with Notwane and is a 'silent' sponsor of the team. I know for a fact that when the team is in dire straits for money, he is one of those businesspeople who are close to the team that assistance is sought from. It is an unfortunate coincidence that his first major decision as BFA President has to involve Notwane and at first glance would seem to favour Notwane. One might say, it is straight forward, but one wonders if he would have been so quick to pull the trigger if the decision did not favour Notwane. Many conspiracy theories have come up and at the end of the day, Sebego has the constitution on his side. He might not be the one who took the decision, but at the end of the day, as the BFA President the decision will be deemed to be his, the buck stops with him. The Law was followed to the letter and I hope that from now on, no rot will be spared and such unfavourable harsh decisions, if necessary, are taken even if they don’t favour certain teams. I’m still wondering what could have happened had it been Township Rollers, Centre Chiefs, Extension Gunners, or even Gaborone United that had not paid those fees. Was the decision going to be so quick and so harsh? Honestly, I DONT THINK SO.
I heard that some years ago, some teams amongst them Tafic, Township Rollers, Centre Chiefs, Gaborone United, did not pay their affiliation fees on time and nothing was done. Apparently this was because the League had already started. Well, for me that is not a good enough reason to have let it slide. If they had not affiliated, then the League should have been stopped and those that had not paid been chucked out of the League. Or was the decision not taken because of the names involved? There is a saying that some animals are more equal than others. The dynamics might be a bit different but at the end of the day some say the trigger was not pulled then because of the names involved, and now the trigger was instantly pulled because of the lesser names involved and the fact that the decision would favour one of the big guns being Notwane, which is close to Sebego. No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to talk about this issue without bringing in Sebego and his involvement with Notwane, and by extension his position as BFA President into the debate. It is rather unfortunate, but true. These are conspiracy theories, but if you think about it, you could think they are true. Could there had been a lesser sanction imposed, as in the past the same mistake by other bigger teams had been left to slide by? For a Notwane and BR Highlanders supporter, the decision seems justified as the Law was followed to the letter. For a Police X1 and Security Systems supporters, the decision seems rather too harsh. Well it would depend on which side of the debate you are. This matter has evoked a lot of emotions and the debate among football followers has been varied, with some saying it is a good decision as it is a wake up call to all teams to follow the rules of face the consequences while others feel it was a rather too harsh and too hurried a decision, moreso that it favoured a team that is close to many in high places. On the other hand, one has to commend the Sebego led administration for acting quickly and acting on the situation. I strongly feel that the decision is rather harsh, but at the end of the day, the Law has to be followed and if one does not adhere to the set laws, then there are repercussions. It is unfortunate for Police XI and even harsher on Security Systems who were looking to make their maiden appearance in the top flight.
At the end of the day, all the blame has to be put on the Police X1`and Security Systems officials who failed to pay the affiliation fees. However close to Notwane as he is, we cannot blame Sebego for that. If the two teams had paid the paltry affiliation fees, they would not be in this situation and there would not be any need to challenge Sebego’s integrity and the fact that he might have taken the decision to favour his beloved Notwane.
Welcome back to the Premier League Notwane and BR Highlanders and hard luck Police Xi and Security Systems. Notwane Football Club is the only team that has been relegated twice but has never actually played in the lower League. That is an interesting feat that no team will ever achieve. There are unconfirmed reports that other teams in the BFA structures had not paid the fees by the set date, now if that is the case, then we are in for a somewhat tense period, as more teams might be dismissed. After all a precedence has been set. There are many other Articles in the same constitution that most affiliates do not adhere to and nothing is being done; now let’s see all those being upheld, even if it means chucking out more and more teams. We have started the ball rolling by this ruling so let all the other teams that break the law feel the wrath of the law, using the SAME CONSTITUTION.
One can only hope that all teams have learnt a lesson. One can also hope that from now on, all laws will be followed to the letter and sanctions imposed if necessary, irrespective of whom they favour or do not favour. There are so many rules that have been broken and continue to be broken by the bigger teams and nothing is being done; now lets see how brave and honest this leadership is, if Township Rollers, Centre Chiefs, Extension Gunners, Tafic or even Gaborone United break a Law or go on a tangent; impose the necessary sanctions, even if it is chucking them out of the League. Let’s have all teams being equal and being treated the same, irrespective of how big or small they are.
The ball is back on your side Mr. Sebego. All the best trying to get around this really sticky issue, and coming out with your integrity intact. I just wish that Notwane was not involved and didn’t stand to benefit so that we do not base your judgement on that; and it would have been rather interesting to see if you would have handled the matter differently.