Mohapi defends aborted Swazi trip

Mohapi defends aborted Swazi trip

 

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) general secretary Mokhosi Mohapi has defended the governing body after another embarrassing gaffe last week.

In what was the latest in Lefa’s long line of bungles, a clandestine trip to Swaziland was cancelled at the last minute last Thursday because it clashed with the weekend’s Vodacom Premier League fixture.

The proposed excursion, which only came to light last Wednesday, would have seen Likuena play a friendly in Swaziland last Saturday before heading out to Seychelles for this weekend’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

However, Lioli have eight players in the Likuena camp and they would have been forced to miss last Sunday’s crucial league encounter against Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS).

The Lioli-LCS fixture was rescheduled by the premier league two weeks ago following Lioli’s engagements in the CAF Champions League.

Rightfully, Lioli wanted their players for the clash with LCS because Likuena’s trip did not fall under FIFA’s international dates.

Sources say Likuena players were already on the team bus when the journey was finally called off.

Despite an apparent absence of planning, Mohapi insisted the Swaziland outing was scheduled long before the premier league rearranged the Lioli-LCS game.

“The Swaziland trip had long been planned and accepted (by the league) even before the rescheduling of the games,” he asserted.

Mokhosi said Lefa submitted its programme for 2016, which included preparations for May’s COSAFA Cup in Namibia, to the premier league in January but ultimately cancelled Likuena’s trip to Swaziland after talks with the league last week.

“We submitted our schedule to the premier league (in January) but decided with the league that since they have a backlog of games, we should cancel Likuena’s trip to allow the game between Lioli and LCS, as well as the other games that were played over the weekend, to continue,” Mohapi said.

“We have asked them to give us a chance to prepare for the COSAFA Cup taking place in May,” he added.

Premier league chairman John Leuta sang a different tune, however.

Leuta said the premier league was not informed of Likuena’s trip to Swaziland in time saying it only found out last Wednesday that the national team would be leaving the following day.

Leuta said the premier league and Lefa hold a meeting every January where the association submits its schedule for the year to allow the league to cater for national team matches.

Leuta said the trip to Swaziland was not in the schedule Lefa submitted to the league.

“In the beginning of every year we sit down with Lefa. They give us their schedule which includes friendly games as well and this game was not in the schedule they submitted,” Leuta told thepost.

He added: “We could not postpone the (Lioli-LCS) game as both teams had already incurred costs preparing for this game as we were told on Wednesday about the Swaziland trip. There was no time.”

Leuta stated that the premier league committee is in the process of commercialising the league and rescheduling games distresses sponsors.

“The sponsors do not like this thing of rescheduling the games, they also incur costs because they want to put their brands at the field,” he said.

Leuta made it clear the premier league does accommodate Likuena friendly matches even if they are not in the schedule submitted by Lefa.

However, he said the league has to be made aware of such games in time to give management a chance to inform teams and the relevant stakeholders.

“We do allow players to join the national team even if the game was not in the schedule submitted to us. As long as we are told in time, then we are able to inform the teams in time. The latest time to inform is Monday or Tuesday at least, but now we were told on Wednesday,” Leuta said.

Lioli won the critical encounter against LCS 1-0 at Setsoto Stadium to return to the top of the Vodacom Premier League.

Likuena, meanwhile, left for Seychelles yesterday for their equally vital AFCON appointment on Saturday.

Vodacom Premier League results:

Sunday 20th March

Likila United 2-0 Likhopo

Lioli 1-0 LCS

Linare 1-2 Sandawana

 

Vodacom Premier League standings:

P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Lioli 20 13 6 1 31 8 23 45
2 Matlama 20 13 4 3 34 19 15 43
3 LCS 20 12 5 3 22 8 14 41
4 Sandawana 20 10 3 7 20 19 1 33
5 Bantu 20 8 5 7 18 11 7 29
6 Likhopo 20 7 7 6 22 16 6 28
7 Kick4Life 20 6 9 5 16 17 -1 27
8 LDF 20 6 8 6 20 18 2 26
9 Liphakoe 20 4 9 7 14 19 -5 21
10 Likila United 20 5 5 10 15 26 -11 20
11 LMPS 20 3 9 8 17 25 -8 18
12 Linare 20 4 5 11 19 26 -7 17

 

 

Previous Sky Battalion marches into Premier League
Next Koetle kicked out of Likuena squad

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