Mystery surrounds the International Transfer Clearance (ITC) of South African born goalkeeper Lesego Modiba from MTC Premiership giants FNB Orlando Pirates to South African Professional Super League (PSL) outfit Jomo Cosmos.
The transaction between the two clubs has left a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of football officials from both camps, with the Ghosts accusing Cosmos owner Jomo Matsilile Sono of dealing in bad faith.
At the centre of the ugly debacle is the apparent illegal registration of Modiba, who featured for the Katutura giants in several MTC Premiership matches during his eight-month stint with the Buccaneers.
Modiba arrived in Namibia on September 11, 2015 to undergo trials with the Katutura outfit. Upon the successful completion of his trial period, the agile shot stopper was eventually signed and immediately drafted to the Ghosts’ starting lineup.
It has since emerged that the acrobatic gloves man was improperly registered by the MTC Premiership, since he was not in possession of a work permit, as required by Namibian law.
The NFA’s Titus Kunamwene rubbished the allegation, saying the player was properly registered. “The law is very clear on that, an awaiting applicant is given three months grace period to start working before the applications is approved,’ he charged.
Sources claim Cosmos showed interest in acquiring the services of Modiba and started negotiations with Pirates for the sale of the goalie, but while talks between the two clubs were ongoing, the player resurfaced at Cosmos.
However, Sono vehemently denies any such talks taking place. “Pirates did approach us with a proposal to buy the player, but we have never engaged them in negotiations. In fact, the player approached us for a possible move, whereupon he was subsequently invited for trials,” charges the man known as “Troublemaker” during his playing days.
Kunamwene maintains the player’s ITC is still with the NFA, although further investigation revealed that both clubs were issued with separate clearances by Modiba’s parent club, Dolphins FC.
Upon learning the boy is contracted to Dolphins, Cosmos started negotiations with the Pretoria-based outfit, whose eligibility was verified by that country’s football controlling body, SAFA.
It is customary practice in South Africa that when a player is released from his contract by his amateur club, the clearance must be first verified by the mother body for approval.
Armed with what they believed was a valid clearance from Dolphins, accompanied by an affidavit from the chairman of the club, Cosmos duly registered the player with the PSL.
Modiba became an instant hit – manning the sticks for the former Balfour Park franchise with near-faultless and breathtaking performances. He made five successive appearances for his new employers before his eligibility was placed under the microscope.
Pirates did not take kindly to the unfolding saga and took issue with the PSL outfit, accusing club owner Sono of playing hide and seek. Meanwhile, it has since been discovered that the Namibia’s football presiding body, the NFA, had registered Modiba without the required documentation.
New Era Sport is reliably informed that although Modiba was in possession of an ICT, he was still required to obtain a work permit, as stipulated in Namibian immigration law.
On their part, Pirates remain steadfast they did nothing wrong by registering Modiba via the work permit application notice, although logic suggests any application is subject to approval.
Documents in the possession of New Era Sport show that Modiba also overstayed his welcome in Namibia, as his visa expired on March 3 this year. Pirates reported the issue to the NPL, whereupon the league forwarded the case to the NFA, who in turn alerted SAFA.
SAFA forwarded Pirates’ protest to the PSL and the matter is now being dealt with through arbitration in Johannesburg. The case resumes today, with both Kunamwene and Pirates’ Mabos Vries having been summoned as witnesses.