LEFA goes after three Lioli ‘rebels’

LEFA goes after three Lioli ‘rebels’

Maseru – Lioli management is up in arms over the Lesotho Football Association’s (LEFA) decision to exclude three key players from funding for next month’s CAF Champions League.
The players in question are Tšepo Seturumane, Tšepo Lekhooana and Kopano Tseka who retired from the national team last month due to a disagreement over allowances.
On Tuesday, LEFA said it will not include the trio in its budget for Lioli’s sojourn into Africa against Zimbabwe champions CAPS United.
LEFA covers costs including transport and accommodation when Lesotho clubs take part in Africa’s showpiece competition but their stance with Lioli means the club will have to foot a sizable chunk of the bill.

‘Tse Nala’ vice-president Mthoalo Mthoalo said the champions are unhappy and have written a letter to the governing body requesting a meeting over the issue.
“At the moment there is nothing I can say regarding the players but we have requested a meeting with LEFA to discuss this and only after the meeting will we be able to tell our side,” he said. Mthoalo conceded, however, that “if we do not find common ground with the association we will have no choice but to pay for the players.”
LEFA’s decision has been negatively received and the association has been accused of abusing its powers.
However, LEFA public relations officer Thabo Maretlane defended the resolution saying the move should not be seen as the governing body punishing players who have retired from Likuena.

He explained LEFA will be using the same contract Seturumane, Lekhooana and Tseka turned down with the national team.
“It is not a punishment at all from us, no one can be punished for retiring from Likuena,” Maretlane insisted.
“Here is what is happening: those three players were called to the national team and they refused to sign LEFA’s contracts and they retired from the national team.”
“It is our responsibility to ensure Lioli participates in CAF and we are treating this game as an international (game),” he continued. “Therefore, we will be using the same contracts and the same allowances that the players turned down for Likuena – that’s our stand. We are not saying Lioli should not use the players; they can use them, but we will not incur their costs.”

On Tuesday LEFA released a statement confirming Lioli’s trio were among a group of players that refused to accept the association’s terms and chose to retire.
Seturumane, Lekhooana and Tseka were joined by Lesotho Mounted Police Service defender Basia Makepe and Bantu midfielder Hlompho Kalake.
“It will be remembered that key in the conditions is the issue of payment of allowances in the sum not less than M5,000.00 Maloti per match which these players have in the past demanded culminating in endless strikes in the National Team,” LEFA’s statement read.  Kalake has since withdrawn his retirement letter and said he will be available for future Likuena assignments.  “(Kalake’s) position has been accepted with gratitude by the Association and as such Mr Kalake will henceforth be eligible for call ups,” LEFA stated.
Meanwhile, Lioli have intensified their plans for the CAF Champions League by lining up friendly matches against two South African premier league sides, Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars.  ‘Tse Nala’ will travel to Bloemfontein next Wednesday to meet Celtic and will face ‘Ea Lla Koto’ few days before they welcome CAPS United to Setsoto Stadium on the weekend of February 10/11/12.

Luciah Phahla

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