Sundawana players return to training

Sundawana players return to training

MASERU – The majority of Sundawana’s players returned to training on Tuesday after going AWOL for over three weeks.
The Econet Premier League club has missed its last three league matches – against Kick4Life, Majantja and Matlama – as a result of the strike which erupted when players abandoned camp over a salary dispute.

When downing tools the players vowed not to play until they had been paid and an impasse with club owner Thato “Sandawana” Nkone meant Sundawana proceeded to miss league games against Kick4Life (on October 21), Majantja (October 29) and Matlama on Sunday.
After Sundawana failed to turn up for their match against Kick4Life, the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) stepped in by calling Nkone to a meeting but he never attended.

The PLMC then wrote the club a letter asking them to “show cause why” they should not be punished for failing to turn up for league fixtures.
Speaking to thepost on Tuesday, Nkone said he met with Sundawana’s players over the weekend and responded to the premier league’s letter.
He said the players credited their bad run in the league to poor officiating. Sundawana are yet to win a game this season losing four and drawing one of their five matches.

“I have met with the players and they have promised me that they will return to training and play their matches from now on. They have also promised to work hard to end their bad run,” Nkone said.
“But I don’t trust them,” he added.

“They are complaining about the referees saying the referee’s decisions have been going against them.”
Nkone explained: “The premier league wrote a ‘show cause why’ letter to me and I have responded to it and gave them my reasons (why Sundawana should not be punished for failing to show up for games). I did not attend the meeting that they called me for previously because they disrespected me. The tone of the letter was not good. (The premier league) were ordering me to come and see them, I didn’t go.”

With players now back in camp, ‘Tse Bo Yellow’ are expected to continue their league fixture when the action resumes after this weekend’s international break. Sundawana’s next league assignment is scheduled to be an away trip to Liphakoe next weekend.
Nkone, though, said if the league decides to deduct Sundawana nine points for the matches it missed instead of replaying them, the club may go on strike again.

However, the PLMC public relations officer Mosito Lekholoa said the league is guided by rules and the league gives punishment according to what the rules say. He said that if the rules say the league should award points to Sundawana’s opponents it will.
“There are rules that guide us,” Lekholoa said on Tuesday.

“We wrote (Nkone) a letter and we are still waiting for an answer from them. After we receive it we will study it and look at what the rule says. If it says we should deduct nine points and give them to the three teams (Kick4Life, Majantja and Matlama), we will. We were only trying to help, to see what we can do to help.”

Meanwhile, Nkone thanked Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana and vice-president Mthoalo Mthoalo, as well as Bantu vice-president Molefi Lengosane whom he said played a big role in changing his mind about dissolving Sundawana.
“I was ready to walk away from football but I have to thank Thotanyana, Mthoalo and Molefi from Bantu. They all called me and convinced me not to dissolve the club and continue. I respect them,” Nkone said.

Luciah Phahla

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