‘Stay away from drugs’

‘Stay away from drugs’

MASERU -Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi has fired a fierce warning to footballers in the country that LEFA will no longer defend players when it comes to anti-doping.
Mohapi said Lioli’s Tšoanelo Koetle is the last player LEFA will help in their efforts to avoid a lengthy doping ban.
LEFA has subscribed to an anti-doping protocol by Lesotho’s National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) which falls under the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), Mohapi said.
NADOs are responsible for testing athletes in and out of competition with the mandate given by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It means players can be tested even when the season is over as is the case now.

Koetle fell afoul of the LNOC’s anti-doping regulations last year and spent the majority of 2018 out of football.
The Lesotho international was banned by the LNOC in February 2018 after missing a doping test in October 2017 and skipping a resultant tribunal hearing.
Koetle missed the first half of the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season and was only allowed to return to action in January after LEFA intervened to help the midfielder who is now with the national team at the 2019 COSAFA Cup in Durban, South Africa.

Mohapi was speaking last Friday at Matlama’s title celebrations at Alliance Insurance’s headquarters in Maseru and he said LEFA will be much stricter going forward.
“This year the Lesotho Football Association subscribed to the anti-doping protocol (set by the LNOC), you should be tested regardless of time. You might think the season is over, (but) there is what they call ‘out of competition testing’. They will take you and test you,” Mohapi said.
“Don’t ever think of running away because you think it is out of competition because that will result in a mandatory four-year suspension and it depends whether Matlama will be prepared to pay a player who is on a four-year suspension,” he added as he addressed Matlama players in attendance.
Mohapi warned players they run the risk of ruining their careers.

“We will not speak to FIFA again (on behalf of players). We have subscribed (to the LNOC anti-doping programme), and it was for the last time with one of the players (Koetle) that we defended someone on the issues of running away from testing,” he said.
“I know some of you smoke marijuana and, from what I know, marijuana stays with you for three weeks in your blood stream. What do they test? They test the urine and do analysis in Bloemfontein, (South Africa).

“If they find (marijuana present) you are going on suspension. You can appeal it at your costs, it is okay. But you will go on suspension and that could spell the end of your career, so, be careful.”
Mohapi continued: “There is another one I have realised: this thing that you smoke from the bottle and mix it with other things. It’s your risk, do it. As for us, we have enrolled.
“If they catch you there is nothing we can do. You never invited us when you were doing these things, you were hiding, so don’t bring it to us when it becomes public. I am not trying to scare you; I am just telling you the consequences of your individual behaviour.”

Mohapi said he has spoken to Lesotho’s Minister of Sports, Mahali Phamotse, about how to professionalise sport in the country.
He said one way to achieve this is by giving LEFA and other sports associations a “sensitisation fund which can be managed by way of a trust.”
“We can set conditions to the teams on what we want them to do and give the teams money to pay the players, (and) hire coaches,” Mohapi added.
“It will be up to the teams, but the teams that are willing to do that will get help to go forward. Hosting workshops is not the way to professionalise sport.”
Mohapi also challenged Matlama to live up to their status as league champions and help lead the way in efforts to professionalise football in Lesotho.
He pointed to Bantu as a beacon to follow.

Despite finishing second to Matlama in the Econet Premiership this past season, ‘A Matšo Matebele’ created history during the campaign by beating Botswana champions Township Rollers last October and becoming the first local side to advance past the first stage of the continental showpiece since Lesotho Defence Force did so in 2002.
The Mafeteng giants are also progressing off the field and two weeks ago announced ambitious plans to build a club village and open an official club merchandise store.
“You have a mammoth task, Bantu has set a huge task,” Mohapi said to Matlama.
“I know you are the current champions and you will wonder why I am talking about the former champions; it is because (Bantu) have set the tone of where we want to go as a country and it is incumbent on you to live up to the challenge and actually do better than Bantu did last season,” he said.
“People are looking at you. You personally have to live up to the comparison. If you can’t reach that stage (Bantu reached) how is the media going to react? And, believe you me, they are waiting.”

Tlalane Phahla

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