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Confusion over Gilport’s future

The future of Gilport Lions is uncertain
Confusion surrounded local football ahead of last night’s BTC Premiership match between Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gilport Lions following the dispute over the latter’s status.

The club has been embroiled in dispute over how its status was acquired from the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) by the previous owners, Ghodrati family.

The team at the time was registered as BMC football club at both the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the Botswana Premier League (BPL).

The committee, which was running the club at the time, has been in talks with the directors of Gilport Lions over the issue which threatened to reach the courts.

Gilport Lions directors, who acquired the team from the Ghodrati family, acceded to the BMC FC committee’s demands for the return of the club. On Monday, Gilport Lions director, Kelesitse Gilika told one of the local radio stations that they are in the process of handing over the team.

On the same day, the BFA instructed the BMC committee to take responsibility of the team’s fixtures starting with yesterday’s match against Chiefs.

However former chairperson of BMC, Sonny Phiri who has been leading the talks to return the club to the society said they are surprised by the BFA demands.

He said the BFA cannot ask them to take responsibility for the team’s fixtures when a lot still has to be done.

“We were waiting to meet the BFA national executive committee (NEC) over the issue because there is a lot to be done before

we can be asked to take responsibility. First of all there has to be a change of name. We are currently also not registered with CAF, FIFA or even BFA itself. There are issues of club licensing which have to be taken care of as well as being inducted by the BPL. As we speak, BMC has no registered players for this season,” Phiri said yesterday.

At the time of going to press, Phiri said they were writing a response to the association to explain their position on the association’s demands.

He said as far as they are concerned, they are still in talks with Gilport Lions’ management on the process of returning the team.

He said until the BFA declares that Gilport Lions has been officially reinstated as BMC in the Premier League and other processes followed properly, they cannot be asked to be in charge of the team’s games.

 “As we speak, BMC does not appear in the BFA set up. We are waiting to meet with NEC so that a smooth transition can take place,” he said.

By yesterday, the BFA legal team was said to be working on the matter.

Gilport Lions on the other hand were not in a position to comment on the matter saying it is still being handled by the mother body.





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