Gaborone - Botswana’s reputation as one of the least corrupt countries on the continent is under renewed scrutiny following a decision by football world governing body, FIFA, to ban a former chief executive officer of Botswana Football Association (BFA).
In a statement last week, FIFA said that Mooketsi 'Tosh' Kgotlele has been “banned for life from all football-related activities at both national and international level”.
“The adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Mooketsi Kgotlele, former general secretary (chief executive officer) of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is guilty of having accepted bribes in relation to the manipulation of international matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” reads the statement from FIFA.
It said the formal ethics proceedings against Kgotlele were initiated on 6 September 2018 and stemmed from an extensive investigation into various attempts to manipulate international matches for betting purposes by Wilson Raj Perumal, a known match-fixer.
A large-scale investigation was conducted by FIFA through its competent departments and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities.
“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee found that Mr Kgotlele had breached article 12 (Bribery) of the 2006 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level,” the statement said.
“Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 has been imposed on Mr Kgotlele. Mr Kgotlele was notified of the decision today (last week), the date on which the ban comes into force.”
The whole saga reportedly emanates from a match which the Under 23 national team Zebras lost 4 - 1 to China played in China on 30 September 2009. Few days later in October, he was suspended by the BFA to allow investigations on the alleged match fixing scandal. Reports further indicated that allegations were that Kgotlele was part of the cartel that influenced the outcome of the match.
This is not the first time that a Botswana football official has been banned by FIFA over football scandals. In 2006, former BFA president Ishmael Bhamjee was banned from football activities by FIFA after he admitted to FIFA committee he sold 12 tickets for England’s match against Trinidad and Tobago at Nuremburg on June 15 for $380 during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was also fined R70 000 after being found to have breached various articles of the Fifa Code of Ethics and the BFA subsequently stripped him of his honorary presidency status.
Commenting on the turn of events since Bhamjee’s scandal, renowned local sports journalist Duncan Kgangkenna said: “Botswana has long been regarded as one of Africa’s least corrupt countries. I fear, however, that this reputation, based on the current scandal and the one that happened in 2006, is very much at risk.”
Kgangkenna said there was a need for Botswana soccer authorities to introspect.
“Bribery claims and cheating are bad for our country’s image and football as a whole,” he said.