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Chaos continues at Lioli



MASERU-In recent months Lioli have made headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.
Since August the Teyateyaneng giants have been rocked by an embarrassing power struggle between a new executive committee elected on August 30 and the previous interim board.

Several cases have been filed by the ousted committee led by Hlajoane Lesaoana trying to overthrow the new executive led by Lebohang Thotanyana and fans have been left disillusioned in the crossfire.
Lioli’s supporters feel the club is being undermined by “power hungry people” who are willing to destroy ‘Tse Nala’ to cling on to power.
This week thepost spoke to several Lioli fans who expressed fierce disapproval of Lesaoana’s ousted faction.

Their cry comes because many thought August’s elections would finally bring stability to ‘Tse Nala’ who have lurched from one leadership crisis to another for two years now.
Painfully for fans, that instability at the top has seen a big drop-off in performances on the pitch.

A club renowned for winning trophies, Lioli have not come close to challenging for the league title for three years now and last won a trophy in 2018.
Worse still, the five-time league champions missed out on a top four league finish for the past two years, something which had not happened in a decade.
The infighting has peaked over the past 12 months.
Last May, Thotanyana stepped down as Lioli president and handed the leadership reins to Tšeliso Tekateka but Tekateka resigned shortly afterwards.

The subsequent successive resignations of Lehlohonolo Thotanyana, Tšeliso Mou and Itumeleng Mpokathe eventually led to Lesaoana taking over as interim president in March.
Things only got worse however as Lesaoana’s interim committee was accused of refusing to convene the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) as a way of not presenting reports and preventing supporters from making their choice on who should lead Lioli.

The infighting dragged in the club’s chief patron, the Principal Chief of ‘Mamathe and Thupa-Kubu, Sempe Masupha, and in June he wrote to the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) asking it to intervene.
The club’s bankers, Standard Lesotho Bank, got involved as well by freezing the club’s accounts which meant Lioli were not able to pay their players in July.

At the time Lesaoana’s committee accused Chief Masupha and Lebohang Thotanyana of sabotaging their work and interfering with the club’s running while the Berea District Football Association (DIFA) was also at the receiving end of shots from the interim committee.
Ultimately, Lioli fans took charge of a campaign demanding an elective conference and the interim committee was finally ousted in August.
The chaos has not ended, though.

Lesaoana’s faction are fighting Thotanyana’s committee and are trying to get August’s AGM nullified by saying the new executive “broke Covid-19 rules by gathering during the pandemic.”
Lioli fans say they are not stupid and can see through what is going on.
They say power hungry individuals who want to hold on to power at the club do not have their best interests at heart. Many interviewed by thepost called on Lesaoana’s committee to respect their choice.

Kananelo Ramokoatsi, an outspoken Lioli fan, said they have hope in the current committee led by Thotanyana and they just want to see their team perform well in the new league season.
“We are positive about this new committee that is in charge right now, everything is positive right now, we launched a new jersey and by the look of it the fans are happy,” he said.

“As the fans we have power, we have the voice, we pushed for the elections and voted them out. When we speak, we get listened to and things happen, they don’t always happen when we want but we know we have a voice and power,” he said.
Ramokoatsi said Lioli fans are aware of how infighting has hurt the club in the past and, if it continues, the fans feel it could be more costly for the long-term future of the club.

Ramokoatsi said Lioli are at risk of falling behind their rivals. Just last month Lioli were denied their share of the Covid-19 Relief fund by LEFA due to their internal conflicts over power.
“The fans are not happy with all these things, if they continue they will weaken the support; nobody wants to see this happening at their club. The sponsors will leave the club. Which company would want to be involved in this mess?” Ramokoatsi said.

Many Lioli fans said they believe everyone wants a piece of the prized Lioli cake and they are willing to sink the whole team in order to be in control of the club.
The fans said they want to be competing for trophies with the likes of Matlama and Bantu.
They urged Lesaoana’s faction to respect the choice they have made about Lioli’s leadership.

Tlalane Phahla

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Dicing with death



MASERU – spinning is a motorsport that originates in South Africa.


The pastime started in the 1980s in the country’s townships and was used mainly by gangsters as a way to show-off their stolen cars.


In the subsequent years, the sport has grown in popularity in South Africa’s neighbouring country and it has made its way to Lesotho.


Although spinning competitions are not held regularly in Lesotho, they always come with a huge fanfare and hundreds of supporters normally flock to its venues to watch drivers spinning, drifting and doing stunts.


It is a loud and mostly dangerous sport that has been labelled as the world’s most reckless sport.


It’s not just any car that is used in spinning, there are special cars that favourties for entertaining crowds.


The BMW 3-series famously known as Gusheshe owing to the brusque sound its engine makes are designed for the spin. Spinning enthusiasts say that BMW 3-series cars can be manipulated and their engines maintained easily.


Lately other people have started to opt for the V8 Toyota which they sport with BMW wheels.


In Lesotho, the shows are held at various places, including the Masianokeng filling station in Maseru. In 2021, Seisa Mohapi left the crowd yearning for more thrills, stunts and spins at Makoanyane Barracks and he emerged as a local favourite.


He has since gone on to make a career out of car spinning and because of the lack of competitions in Lesotho, Mohapi has to travel outside very often to compete.


Today, Mohapi, who is one the most famous spinners in Lesotho, is preparing for the Battle of the Nations competition to be held in Pretoria, South Africa, on April 29.


He is not a newbie to the competition. Last year he was the only Mosotho competing against drivers from the host country, Eswatini and Botswana.


One fascinating fact about Mohapi is that he was not into spinning cars until a friend urged him to join the sport because of his fast driving. Mohapi insists, however, that when he is driving on the road he is not as fast as he is on the track.


He may now be a well-recognised spinner, but it was a difficult road. Getting invitations to South African competitions was mission impossible in the beginning because the sport was not recognised in Lesotho.


The best Mohapi managed was competitions in Bloemfontein and Thaba-Nchu, before he eventually started getting invites to big events.


In 2018, he received his first invitation to attend big spinning events in Villiersdorp, Western Cape, and now the rest is history. He has travelled to several countries including Eswatini and Botswana.


Mohapi remembers: “(My friend) gave me an idea that you already have speed, if you can spin, you can do it well. From there I started spinning on the streets until we started taking it seriously, (we are) hosting events and joining spinning groups.”


When Mohapi is not throttling cars on weekends, during the week he has an office job at the Ministry of Social Development. He says his routine is between his job and spinning.


It is a costly passion.


Motorsport is one of the most expensive sports in the world because it requires fully operational engines and such are costly. Mohapi has no sponsor, he bears all the costs when it comes to his car. Luckily for Mohapi, he can repair cars which means the costs of fixing have not weighed as heavily on him as they otherwise would have.


“Even though spinning is a very expensive sport, I am still fully self-sponsored and it does not cost much on my pocket because I know how to repair cars. So, this is different to someone who waits on engineers when their cars crash,” Mohapi says.


“Because these cars are being used heavily, they kill engines a lot. The cheapest engines range from M3 000 to M4 000 so if you are buying them regularly it becomes expensive. The (engine) I am using is about M18 000 to M20 000 – I am hoping spinning will be recognised as a growing sport,” he continues.


In spinning contests, it is the host’s responsibility to provide participants with tyres, while the participants should make sure that their rims are fit for the performance. Many drivers have earned themselves a reputation with drifting, but that is not the case with Mohapi.


He enjoys spinning and doing stunts most and that has become his trademark.


“For the spin to be performed best, it requires skills,” Mohapi says.


“Some can draw the interest of the audience and some just drift and confuse the audience. When the audience cannot capture what you are doing, they keep themselves busy by buying refreshments,” he adds.


There is a difference between spinning and drifting. Spinning which is more popular is when drivers lock their cars into a spin and screech tyres and make clouds of smoke. They then climb out of the car to perform stunts while spinning.


Meanwhile, the internet defines drifting as a driving technique where the driver intentionally over-steers, with loss of traction, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner.


The technique causes the rear slip angle to exceed the front slip angle to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn. For example, if the car is turning left, the wheels are pointed right or vice versa.


Mohapi says spinning is all about entertainment, no one can be considered a winner, the only way to know if you did well is by the crowd’s reaction to your performance. South Africa is now preparing to host bigger spinning events in which there will be prize money given to participants who impress, and he says he is looking forward to it.


“All I can say is Basotho should support spin because their kids love it,” Mohapi enthuses.


“Their kids must know there is someone in Lesotho who spins and his name is Seisa. At these events there are really a lot of kids, it brings happiness to them.”

Relebohile Tšepe

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Bereng raring to go



MASERU – Likuena star midfielder Tshwarelo Bereng says it’s good for Likuena to go in the match against star-studded Zambia as underdogs despite winning the last encounter between the two countries.


The two southern African countries will face-off in back-to-back matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium on March 23 and 26 respectively.


Motebang Sera was the hero in the last match at the COSAFA Cup beating Kennedy Mweene twice to become Likuena’s all time leading goal-scorer in the regional tournament with six goals.


Bereng, who now plays his football for Eswatini giants, Mbabane Highlanders, makes a return to the Likuena squad since last year’s goalless draw against Ivory Coast, where he was an unused substitute.


“Look, it will be a totally different ball game to the one when we last played at the COSAFA Cup and they also know that it’s not going to be a walk in the park for them,” the midfielder said.


“We just have to approach the game with the same mindset we had against them two years ago in Port Elizabeth, which was self-belief and playing to our strength.”


Bereng, who had a long career playing in South Africa for the likes of Moroka Swallows, Chippa United and Black Leopards, admitted that Zambia are favourite on paper going into the two matches, but is adamant they can cause an upset like they did in holding star-studded Ivory Coast to a goalless draw.


“Of course, on paper they are favourites because they have a lot of players playing abroad such as Patson Daka of Leicester City, but like I said, self-belief is very important at this level of football,” Bereng said.


“I think for me it’s very good to be labelled underdogs, it takes the pressure away from us and gives us room to surprise them.


“They are going to be to tough games, but we have been there before and we know what we have to do to improve our position if we are to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said.


Likuena will host Eswatini in a training match this Thursday as both countries fine-tune their preparations for the upcoming 2023 Afcon matches.


Mikia Kalati

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Free show for football fans



MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has opened its gates to Basotho who want to watch the national team Likuena today. Lesotho hosts Eswatini this afternoon at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena in their last friendly match before they fly to Zambia.

This training match is part of Likuena’s preparation for the back-to-back 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Zambia in two weeks’ time.

Three weeks ago, Lesotho coach Veselin Jelusic and his charges travelled to Malawi for a friendly match which ended with a 1-1. At the time the Serbian coach said he wished for more games and today’s match will surely come in handy as it will help him to fine-tune mistakes Likuena made against Malawi.

The first leg match of the AFCON qualifier against Zambia will be played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on March 23, with the return leg set for Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on March 26th. Lesotho needs to win at least one of the two games to stand any chance of qualifying.

After two AFCON qualifying games, Likuena are bottom of Group H which also includes Comoros and Ivory Coast.

Like Likuena, Eswatini is also preparing to take on Cape Verde in their AFCON qualifying campaigns on March 24 and 28 respectively.

LEFA has invited Basotho to come and watch their team free of charge as this could be their last chance to watch Likuena on their home soil until Setsoto Stadium is upgraded to meet international standards.

Because of the unavailability of the national stadium Likuena have been forced to play their home matches in South Africa.

Likuena lost 2-0 away to Comoros in their opener but played to a spirited 0-0 draw with giants Ivory Coast at ‘home’. Both games were played last June.

Two of Likuena’s foreign based players have already joined up with the team. Lead striker Motebang Sera, who is still recovering from a minor injury that side-lined him for his South African premiership club Royal AM, is with the team. He missed his team’s 5-1 clobbering by Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday. Tšoarelo Bereng, who is also based across the border, is another one that is now in camp with Likuena.

Richards Bay striker Katleho Makateng is yet to link up with the team, he is expected to be part of the Richards Bay squad that will take on TS Galaxy in the DSTV Premiership in Mpumalanga on Sunday. He will be allowed to join Likuena after and is expected to be a key figure against Zambia.

Tlalane Phahla

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