Botswana’s most celebrated referees Joshua Bondo, Mogomotsi Morakile, Kitso Sibanda and Tshepo Mukani Gobagoba have been suspended from football by Confederation of African Football (CAF) owing to inaccurate reporting in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2024 qualifier match played last month in Benin.
The quartet officiated the match between Rwanda and Benin on the 23rd of March where they are accused of being negligent and CAF viewed it unacceptable oversight as a serious offence which compromised the integrity of football. Consequently, Bondo was suspended for six months whereas the other three assistant referees where suspended for three months without work effective from last week. It is reported that the quartet failed to capture the booking of Rwanda star player during the first leg of AFCON qualifier between Rwanda and Benin and the said player featured in the return leg in Kigali though he was supposed to have been on suspension. Both legs ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
BFA cracks whip
Following the CAF decision, the local football body Botswana Football Association (BFA) also imposed its sanctions by further suspending the quartet from local football in their efforts to tighten the grip and comply with CAF regulations. “As a result of this sanction by CAF, the BFA upholds the spirit of ethics and integrity in football, has decided to suspend forthwith the concerned referees from domestic match scheduling until further notice. In the meantime, internal disciplinary investigations will commence,” the BFA said in a statement released on April 14th.
The suspension means that Bondo might miss out on the opportunity to be selected amongst referees that will be officiating at the highly anticipated AFCON 2023 slated for Ivory Coast next year since the selection will be done before his suspension ends. The assistant referees will also miss the referees courses that could elevate them to full referees.
Meanwhile BFA has released a statement noting with concern on the audio circulating on social media attributed to two BFA officials Monnakgotla Mojaki and Bondo. The BFA is of the view that the audio conversation has the potential to bring the integrity of local football in question and have vowed to take required steps to hold the due accountable through thorough investigations.