LDF faces heavy fine

LDF faces heavy fine

MASERU – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are facing heavy punishment from the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) for causing the abandonment of their Independence Cup semi-final against Matlama last Saturday at Setsoto Stadium. The game was halted with 70 minutes played as LDF players and coaches refused to restart the match after Jane Thaba-Ntšo had given Matlama a 2-1 lead.
LDF furiously protested the ball had not crossed the goal-line and demanded Thaba-Ntšo’s goal be chalked off.

Match officials disagreed and LDF refused to continue with the game resulting in the embarrassing early abandonment of the match.
Matlama eventually won the Independence Cup trophy by beating Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) 1-0 in Sunday’s final.
However, LDF’s conduct was the main topic of discussion all weekend and ‘Sohle-Sohle’ have been widely condemned for bringing the league into disrepute and, most worryingly, embarrassing sponsors of the annual showpiece.

LDF’s actions will do nothing to attract sponsors to local football.
This year the Independence Cup was played in December instead of October because the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) struggled to cobble together sponsorship for the tournament.
In the end, main sponsors Standard Lesotho Bank were joined by Metropolitan Lesotho, Builder’s City, Maluti Mountain Cement and Econet Telecom Lesotho to put on this year’s Independence Cup.
The Premier League met with the sponsors on Tuesday for a post-mortem of the weekend’s debacle.

The stakeholders were set to meet again late on Wednesday to decide LDF’s punishment which could range from financial sanctions to docking of points in the Econet Premier League.
PLMC spokesperson Moeketsi Ramakatsa said LDF’s punishment is a matter of urgency because the league is about to go on a Christmas break.
He said the matter will be given urgent attention but declined to speculate on LDF’s potential punishment.

It is not the first time LDF are in hot water.
In 2016, LDF were punished for causing the abandonment of a league game against Bantu when five LDF players assaulted two Bantu players. Bantu were awarded a 3-0 win. LDF were also docked three points and fined M10 000 for their actions.

“We met with the companies on Tuesday to talk about this but, as the executive, we have not met yet; we are meeting to discuss it,” Ramakatsa told thepost on Wednesday.
“I am sure it will be resolved this week. Maybe by (Thursday) we will know what the decision is,” Ramakatsa added.
Contacted for comment, former PLMC secretary general Baitsi Motsamai said he never dealt with a similar case during his time in office.
He said the severity of LDF’s punishment will depend on the Independence Cup’s competition rules.

“It depends on the rules of the competition but (normally) a team has to file a protest after the game and it will be looked at to see if it has merits,” Motsamai said.
“In the time I was in the office we dealt with protests but we never had a match abandoned,” he added.
“The punishment will depend on what the rules of the competition are saying. I can’t tell (what LDF’s punishment will be).”

Tlalane Phahla

Previous Matlama held
Next Good times are back for Matlama

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