- Team brought eight players to face Galaxy
- Players said to be on strike for unpaid salaries
BTC Premiership side Gilport Lions are likely to be fined for snubbing their weekend fixture against Jwaneng Galaxy in Jwaneng. The Gaborone based club was scheduled to play last season’s runners up on Saturday at 1600 hours, however kick off had to be postponed to 1800 hours, after they were reported to have had a problem with the bus that was transporting the team along the way.
Upon arrival, it was evident that only eight (8) players, and the technical team had made the trip. As suggested by the FIFA laws, a game can continue with not less than seven (7) outfield players, this then saw Gilport go into the field with three (3) players short. Just after less than 30 minutes of action, two (2) Lions players went to ground to point out injury, thus forcing the game to be stopped, and eventually called off as the two could not continue.
At that point the home side in Galaxy, were leading 2-0. Soon after, the club’s officials released a statement in attempt to clarify the situation. “This press statement serves to inform members of the media and the public, that, we at Gilport Lions experienced, challenges today (Saturday) when we were about to leave for Jwaneng to honour our match against Jwaneng Galaxy.
Most of our players did not turn up for departure in time, forcing us to leave Gaborone very late,” reads the open stance of the statement. “The team (made up of a few members) was however able to depart for the Jwaneng albeit late. We have alerted our opponents, and match officials about this, and hope they will appreciate our efforts in mitigation of further inconveniences to all stakeholders,” the release furthermore reads.
“Upon our return from Jwaneng, we will address the team, and later call a press conference to explain what really happened and how we intend on preventing this from reoccurring. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the fans, Jwaneng Galaxy, match officials, the league and sponsor for this unfortunate occurance,” ends the press release.
Until now it remains to be seen what action will be taken against the club by the Botswana Premier League. Last season the same club was involved in a similar case after they failed to turn up in a league game against Mochudi Centre Chiefs in Molepolole, and also showed up late for their home match vs Sankoyo Bush Bucks.
However, they were only fined P2000 for their actions, and no points were docked. The disciplinary committee at that time noted in its ruling that “there were reasonable grounds upon which a breach of the rules was committed” declared that in missing the games Gilport was in contravention of article 7.1 and 7.4 of the BFA play rules and regulations. Gilport Lions SC pleaded guilty on both accounts and they have agreed to play the fine and honor the fixtures.
Meanwhile, news have since surfaced that the players at the club have gone on strike as a result of three (3) months of unpaid salaries. Most of the players are said to have made it clear to the management that they will not play until all their dues have been settled. Recently, Gilport launched a new partnership with StarTimes worth P1million in cash, which was expected to assist in paying players on a monthly basis