Clubs gang up against Bantu

Clubs gang up against Bantu

MASERU – Econet Premier League clubs are unified in their call for the Premier League Management Committee to resolve matters involving Bantu and their cheating scandal.
Bantu were crowned 2017/18 Econet Premier League three weeks ago for a second season in a row.
However, clubs insist they want the laws that govern football in the country be followed so “they can have a clean sport and be able to attract more sponsors.”
The clubs made the demands in a joint press briefing held at Setsoto Stadium yesterday.

The clubs insist Bantu did not only break the rules against Lioli but in every game they played using the players they referred to as “defaulters”.
This saga started last year in December when Lioli accused Bantu of using illegally registered players in a game in which the Mafeteng side won 2-1.
Lioli said Bantu registered four foreign players as local using identity documents obtained illegally.
However, they were not the only team that complained, Matlama and Likhopo also followed suit but only Lioli were able to gather enough evidence to prove their case.
Bantu were found guilty.

The four players Phumoha Matsipa, Itumeleng Falene, Thabo Selisa as well as Pheko ‘Molaoa were de-registered in March and removed from the Lesotho Football Association’s (LEFA) system while Bantu were also docked three points.
The points were given to Lioli. Selisa and Falene were key players for Bantu in the first round while Matsipa and ‘Molaoa were fringe players who benefited from James Madidilane’s rotational system.

Speaking yesterday, Premier League clubs said they want Bantu to be penalised for every match they played using the players in question.
Addressing the members of the press, one of the main protagonists, Baba Malephane, said the clubs are not fighting and are not being influenced by Lioli but want credibility, integrity and principles be followed. He said with these three aspects football will be able to attract more business people into football.
“We can attract a lot of sponsors to our football if we stick to the laws of football,” Malephane said.

“We are not fighting, the big teams aren’t forcing the small teams to come and join, we are not dragging after Lioli, we are teams that are concerned,” he added.
Lesotho Correctional Service’s (LCS) Martin ‘Molaoa said they want to know the league’s standing on the games Bantu played using the four players that were not registered properly.
“It is our understanding Lesotho football is governed by the laws, Lioli complained that they believe Bantu broke some of those rules, they were listened to Bantu was called in to answer, they were being accused of using defaulters and they were docked points.

“We believe they did not only break the rules against Lioli only, but in every game they played using these defaulters and that’s where we want the league to give us their standing point on that and what they are going to do about it,” he said.

Among other issues the clubs are not happy with the cases involving Linare and Sky Battalion where both teams were docked points in the beginning of the season for late registration.
The clubs says these teams were docked points without being called for a hearing and they do not believe it is right.
They continued to say they have heard about the proposed play-offs and they are shocked as there is no such thing in premier league laws.

“It’s not confirmed yet but there is a message going on that there are going to be the play-offs, we tried to look at the laws that govern the premier league and there is no such thing as play-offs.
“The laws are clear two bottom teams will be relegated at the end of the season, and two A-Division teams will be promoted. The league has 14 teams, we don’t know anything about play-offs, the league has always used the laws and it is not a secret,” Malephane said.

Luciah Phahla

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