By Bakang Mhaladi
Gaborone - After securing dream moves to South Africa, three Botswana players are now in a limbo after a last-minute administrative blunder saw the deals fall through.
Township Rollers' Mosha Gaolaolwe and Montshiwa Gape as well as Jwaneng Galaxy's Thero Setsile, had packed their bags, destined for cash-rich First Division newcomers, TS Galaxy.
However, the transfer was not confirmed at the close of the transfer window on January 31. The necessary paperwork from the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had not reached the South African Football Association (SAFA) offices on time.
This meant the three had to abort their trip to South Africa, but they are now in a limbo after their Botswana clubs de-registered them for the rest of the season.
Rollers' public relations officer, Bafana Pheto, said they could not take the players back for the remainder of the season as they have filled up their spaces.
"From what we know, they have completed their moves to TS Galaxy and we have since de-registered them, as we have since signed new players to replace them. I will double check with the general manager, he handles these things on a daily basis, but I doubt that there is space left because we have exhausted our 25-player quota with the new signings," Pheto told the local media.The Botswana transfer window is still open, until this week Friday, but most of the clubs have completed their business.
With a tight purse, local clubs might not be able to afford the three, who are household names and command relatively huge salaries.
The BFA has blamed clubs for failing to tie up loose ends of the deal.
"They slept on the job. They left it until late and did not inform SAFA on time," BFA public relations and marketing officer, Tumo Mpatane, said.
But former Botswana Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Bennett Mamelodi, who has handled international player transfers, said the BFA administrator, responsible for transfers, was not supposed to knock off at 17h00, on transfer deadline day, which was January 31.
"The BFA designated administrator knocked off at 5pm as usual, totally unaware of any possible transfer. Rollers issued clearance letters on time to TS Galaxy, who have valid contracts with the players concerned. On January 31, at around 10pm, TS Galaxy uploaded the necessary information on the Transfer Management System as required by statutes. By 11pm, Rollers had responded confirming the transfer.
"What was then supposed to happen was for BFA to verify on the same system and for SAFA to confirm. All this had to happen before the 12midnight deadline," Mamelodi explained. Mamelodi said the remedy would be for TS Galaxy to lodge an appeal with FIFA, through SAFA, for condonation. The three had signed 30-month deals with the South African side and may be loaned back to Botswana clubs until the next transfer window.