Mahlaha queries wisdom of restart

Mahlaha queries wisdom of restart

MASERU-Likhopo head coach Halemakale Mahlaha has urged football authorities to think of the lives of players first before making any decision on resuming the league season.
The 2019/20 football campaign has been on pause since March 17 when it was stopped by the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) because of fears over the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and there has been no update on when or if the season will restart.

Last week LEFA and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) released a joint statement saying they are looking at four probable scenarios to conclude the season and are studying each option before making a final decision.

One of the options is league matches being played behind closed doors at a designated ground in order finish off remaining games.
Mahlaha’s comments came after the government this week relaxed nationwide lockdown rules that were introduced on March 29 to protect the country from a potential spread of the coronavirus from South Africa which has continent’s highest number of confirmed cases.

Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said “all non-essential services and enterprises” would be allowed to “temporarily open shop” from Wednesday and the football community is now waiting with bated breath to hear what will happen with the league campaign.
However, Mahlaha urged the PLMC, A-Division Management Committee (ADMACO), Referees Committee and the Coaches Association not to rush and to think carefully about any decision they take on the league season.
Mahlaha said the lives of players must come first.

“What I would say to PLMC, ADMACO, Referee’s Association and Coaches Association is think carefully about any decision you take before you go and talk to LEFA, sit-down and look at the decision you take and remember we are playing with other people’s lives,” Mahlaha told thepost yesterday.
“Let’s take that into consideration, this pandemic is dangerous. Look at the decision you make; is it important to individuals or to a country? We are using other people’s kids and we have to put their lives first,” he added.
Another of the options LEFA and the PLMC tabled is the season being aborted.
If that happens it would nullify all matches played and no teams would be considered for promotion or relegation and no champions would be declared.

Lesotho still has no reported cases of Covid-19 and the government has allowed businesses, public services, state companies, tertiary institutions and some classes in primary and high schools to resume operations.
Churches have also been allowed to conduct services provided attendance is restricted to 50 people at a time, however, there are differing viewpoints if LEFA and PLMC should extend or abort the football season.
Likhopo currently sit 10th on the Econet Premier League log and are not in danger of relegation.

However, whenever football returns, Likhopo will have to fix their inconsistent form if they are to finish higher on the table as Mahlaha wants.
This season Likhopo have drawn eight games in the league, more than any team bar Liphakoe who also have eight draws.
Mahlaha attributed Likhopo’s lack of consistency to the inexperience of his squad.

“We have struggled with consistency this season, it is a team of young players and every time I think we have momentum we slip,” he said.
“It is down to inexperience, even the older guys that we have in the team come from lower divisions, they have not adapted to the pace of the Premier League,” Mahlaha added.

“If the season were to end I wouldn’t be happy because we were aiming for a higher position this season, but I am happy with the performances on the field.”

Tlalane Phahla

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