Township Rollers’ miserable end to the season could be further compounded as they await to know their fate after the club was found guilty of using a defaulter.
Rollers were piped to the Botswana Premier League title by Gaborone United but their season could get worse as the league’s disciplinary committee is expected to pass a sentence on the improper registration of Onkarabile Ratanang today (Wednesday).
Ratanang featured heavily for the runners-up and any points deduction will see Rollers fall several places down the standings.
Rollers did not contest the Player Status Committee’s guilty verdict and are now waiting for the sentencing.
The matter has been postponed on three occasions before, with Rollers requesting more time in the first instance, while last at some stage, the prosecutor fell in. Additional charges were reportedly added, which required more time, further delaying the case.
The Botswana Football League (BFL) chief executive officer, Solomon Ramochotlhwane had not responded to inquiries on the progress of the case by press time, amid reports the matter could be set for further postponement, this time at the request of Rollers.
Sources said Rollers could face further sanction for the ‘fraudulent’ registration of Ratanang. The player was registered on October 29, 2021, almost a month after the transfer window closed on September 30.
It is reported that Rollers will face one count for each appearance Ratanang made for the team.
“The view is that since Rollers has accepted the guilty verdict, it is now only for the Disciplinary Committee to pass sentence. Rollers is expected to present its mitigation hoping for a lighter sentence,” the source said.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti was this week quoted as saying there is need to clean the game, in reference to the Rollers saga.
It is reported the late registration of Ratanang has riled football authorities at both the BFA and BFL as they felt the season had progressed almost seamlessly, but they now have to deal with an issue that is proving to be the party spoiler. The issue has polarized local football and threatens to open a can of worms.
The incident has already seen Rollers officials, Sidney Magagane and Motshegetsi Mafa indefinitely suspended from football for their role in the irregular registration of the player. Former BFA regions and competitions manager, Phuthego Setete was banned from football and the association has reportedly sought FIFA’s guidance on the matter.
However, Setete has vowed to fight his suspension as he was not afforded the opportunity to present his side of the story.
Setete left the association at the end of his contract last year November.
Rollers has not taken the issue lying down as they launched what was seen as a counter-attack appeal of their own. Popa challenged the registration of some Security Systems players, arguing they were not properly captured. But the BFA has refuted Rollers’ claims, and it is unclear if the club will pursue the matter further.