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Botswana may face CAF sanctions over pitch invasion

Botswana could face sanctions for a mass pitch invasion by fans after their 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying game here.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Tebogo Sebego told Xinhua on Sunday that his association is likely to be charged between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The incident took place on Saturday afternoon after the Botswana team — popularly known as the Zebras — defeated the visitors in their second Group D qualifying game.

The Zebras had lost their first Group D match to Uganda in Kampala in June. And a win over much fancied Burkina Faso brought excess joy to the fans of this sparsely populated diamond-rich nation with an estimated population of 2.1 million.

“CAF is likely to charge us,” Sebego said, adding that it is unfortunate that fans were “too excited” because of the win and forgot that invading the pitch will have serious consequences on Botswana’s football governing body.

According to CAF regulations, the local football association has to ensure that law and order are maintained in the stadia and must comply with and implement existing safety rules (FIFA and CAF Regulations, national laws, international agreements) and take every safety precaution demanded by circumstances before, during and after the match if accidents occur.

The rule states that national associations are held responsible for the behavior of their supporters (especially with regard to throwing missiles and invading the pitch) and auxiliary staff.

“It is a lesson to us as the BFA. Our fans need to be educated on the rules and regulations in order to avoid an incident of this nature in future,” said Sebego, adding that the Botswana FA will take it upon itself to educate its supporters on how to behave during matches.

A CAF official who declined to be named said the continental football governing body is still awaiting the referee’s report.

The official said the incident is likely to be addressed by the CAF organizing committee in their next meeting to be held in a not so distant future.