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LEFA blasts move to block fans



MASERU – Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) President Advocate Salemane Phafane has blasted the government’s decision to block supporters from attending football matches.
Speaking on Tuesday at the LEFA headquarters at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, Phafane said LEFA will take the government head on over the matter and push for fans to be allowed back into grounds.
Phafane was speaking at his first press conference after he was re-elected the LEFA boss two weeks ago.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro announced that all sporting codes, including contact sports, would be allowed to return to action but with no supporters.
The decision to prohibit fans was negatively received in the football community given parties and bashes, where alcohol abuse is the order of the day, have continued.
Politicians have also been allowed to hold political rallies but supporters cannot watch their teams.

In the eyes of sports fans, the prime minister’s announcement further strengthened the point of view that government does not care about sports and everyone who earns their living through them.
Clubs complained that their financial well-being has also not been taken into consideration and sponsors have been disregarded.
Phafane said LEFA will not take the matter lying down, it wants fans back in.
Phafane said it is cowardly of the government to not see the benefit of having fans back at the grounds.
He said spectators at matches could be used as a drive for the vaccination campaign that the government has embarked on. So far, according to World Health Organisation Africa, Lesotho has vaccinated just over 10 percent of its population. About 682 400 doses have been received by the country and 332 950 of them have been administered.

The government is calling on everyone over 18 years to get a jab, and why it does not see the need to use football to get more people to vaccinate is bewildering to say the least.
“We are going to take them head on to try and negotiate with them and to satisfy them that, in order to fight Covid, they should allow supporters into the grounds but with terms, among others, let’s get vaccinated, (and) observe all the protocols,” Phafane said.

“We find the government to have been cowards that they open bars, allow people to go to parties but will not allow supporters to the ground. We want the government to look at it, also the government should understand the companies that have invested in football,” Phafane added.
In the meantime, the National Executive Committee (NEC) has two different recommendations from the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) and A-Division Management Committee (ADMACO).
The PLMC wants to abort the unfinished 2020/21 league season with no relegations, but does not state what should happen to promotion. On the other hand, ADMACO wants to continue in order to have relegation and promotion. Over the past month it looked as if the league would be aborted, but now it is looks more likely to continue.

If the league does continue, it is clear if it will be after the FIFA international week set to take place in October in order to allow teams to get back in training and get their houses in order. Just little over 50 percent of the Premier League games for the 2020/21 campaign have been played. if the season carries on until May next year, then Lesotho will have a representative in the CAF Champions League unlike this year. The stoppages in the league over past 12 months have since cost Lesotho a place in this year’s CAF Champions League and led to poor performances by the national team which has seen Lesotho’s FIFA ranking tank.

Meanwhile, at the press conference, LEFA unveiled equipment worth M500 000 as a donation from the English Football Association (FA) for grassroots development programmes for kids between six to 12 years. The equipment came as the result of the relationship the association has built with the English FA and more is expected from this relationship.
“This equipment is a result of a bilateral agreement between LEFA, the English FA and UEFA,” Phafane said.

“When we approached the English FA they introduced us to UEFA and we now have direct access to UEFA for assistance, for training programmes, material, for any equipment we may need. We have just signed a bilateral agreement with Morocco, expectations is that we will start to reap the rewards from that bilateral, (and we) will begin to exchange programmes with the Moroccan Association. (We are) in the process of establishing a bilateral agreement with Belgium,” Phafane added.

Tlalane Phahla

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Rabale eyes Champions League glory



Lesotho women’s team captain Boitumelo Rabale has her eyes on winning her second CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football is scheduled for Ivory Coast from November 5-19, where eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned Queens of the continent.

“Queen”, as the Lesotho star is commonly known, was part of the Sundowns squad that was crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the tournament held in Egypt two years ago, becoming the first player from the Mountain Kingdom to taste Champions League success.
She has become one of the key players in Jerry Tshabalala’s squad having walked away with the Hollywoodbets Player of the Season in the previous campaign and currently leads the goal-scoring charts with 21 goals.

“It was exciting to win the CAF Women’s Champions League with Sundowns two years ago and in the process becoming the first player from Lesotho to do so,” Rabale said.

“I felt very lucky and honoured to make history. It gave me confidence to continue working hard and strive for more success with the club”
Sundowns head to the tournament as regional champions after clinching the COSAFA qualifiers to qualify for the continental showpiece, where they will kickstart their campaign against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.

Rabale admitted that memories of losing the last final to AS FAR still haunts them, but they head to Ivory Coast a better team than in the last tournament.

“We learnt the hard way when we lost in the final to AS FAR and we come back a better team having rectified our mistakes.

“It’s our dream to conquer the continent again and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to get our second star in Ivory Coast.

“It will be very good to add the second CAF Champions League medal to my trophy cabinet,” she said.

The 27-year-old has been prolific for Sundowns this campaign having scored nine goals in her last five matches to take her tally for this campaign to 21 goals.
Sundowns are in Group A alongside tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan, Sporting Casablanca of Morocco, as well as Tanzania’s JKT Queen.

Since joining Sundowns in 2021, Rabale has won the Hollywoodbets Super League twice, the COSAFA Zonal qualifiers twice as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League and is the reigning Hollywoodbets Player of the season.

Tlalane Phahla

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Red Skins fail to raise funds for championship



Lesotho volleyball giants Red Skins have failed to raise funds for the 2023 Zone 6 Senior Indoor Volleyball Club Championship they are set to host in December.

Red Skins will host the competition together with four other local volleyball clubs – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Station (LMPS) and Rivers – and the tournament is expected to start on December 7 and end 10 days later.

Without any funds or sponsors coming in, Red Skins will have to foot the bill from their pockets for the tournament which will see teams from 10 countries converge on Maseru.

Among the participating nations, Botswana is expected to bring the biggest contingent with 12 teams, with Zambia following closely behind with nine teams while Zimbabwe is set to be represented by six teams.

Two weeks ago, Red Skins participated in the Elite Cup in Gauteng, South Africa, which was hosted by Aqua Darshan Volleyball.
Red Skins hoped to win the tournament and return home with a hefty jackpot but they only collected M5 000 which was won by the men’s team.

A gala dinner that Red Skins hosted last weekend also failed to generate income due to low attendance and speaking to thepost on Tuesday, the club’s vice-captain, Moleboheng Mofolo, said they will have to push on with what they have to host the tournament.
Mofolo said they no longer have time to come up with other means to raise funds.

“Tournaments will require us to find sponsorships and we do not have time now, we have to focus and train well,” Mofolo said.

“Our coach already told us to camp from this week but rain is our biggest challenge because we cannot continue with the training,” she added.

Mofolo said Red Skins are fortunate that participating teams are going to take care of their accommodation and catering. She said if Red Skins had to provide those services, they would not have been able to manage.

She pleaded with individuals, organisations and companies to help the team, whether it is by offering accommodation, food, or whatever little they may have.

Tlalane Phahla

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Giants avoid each other in Top 4 clash



Women Super League (WSL) giants Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies and Kick4Life Ladies have avoided each other in the WSL Top 4 knockout competition.
The two-day showpiece takes centre stage this weekend at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena and it will see last season’s top four finishers in the league – LDF, Kick4Life, Lijabatho and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Ladies – go head-to-head for bragging rights.

The draw for the competition took place last Friday and the semi-finals will see LDF go up against Lijabatho while Kick4Life will take on LMPS Ladies.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday with the tournament culminating the following day.

Sunday’s proceedings will kick-off with a third-place playoff game to determine who walks away with the bronze medals before the final later in the day.
All four games over the two days will be streamed on the FIFA+ website and the WSL Top 4 will usher in a new sponsor this year.

In the past, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) fully bankrolled the competition, however, Computer Business Solutions (CBS) has come on board with a sponsorship for the first time.

The competition’s prize monies have not been revealed because they are still being finalised, but, speaking at last Friday’s draw, LEFA’s associations secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the relationship with CBS is one that sport should engage in.
Mohapi added his hopes that the relationship will be a long-term one.

“While others are busy at their thing, we should really grow ours so that when their distraction finally ends, they find us as united as we can be as the football community,” Mohapi said.
“(We should be) united by the efforts and inputs that emanate from the business community, especially when it is a truly Lesotho business entity because other (foreign entities) are here to take money,” he said.

Addressing CBS as the tournament’s sponsor, Mohapi said: “We are thankful as LEFA for your initiative; (we) hope you will be in this marriage quite long. We know we are just testing the waters but we have a lot that can entice you to stay longer, not only my command but the instruments that we have.”

Mohapi said LEFA’s dream is that in two years’ time all league matches will be streaming on the FIFA+ platform which was launched last April by football’s world governing body to increase exposure of men and women’s football around the globe.

Currently, only three grounds in the country have the structures for broadcasting; Bambatha as well as the grounds at LDF and Lesotho Correctional Service grounds, and all are in Maseru.
LEFA plans to add more grounds to the list with the DIFA facilities in Maputsoe and Mohale’s Hoek set to be the first to follow suit.

“All our women’s competitions, cup competitions and (Vodacom) Premier League matches that will be played in those stadia that have our infrastructure – we will be able to stream those games internationally,” Mohapi said.

“We have extended our footprint,” he added.

“We are now doing LDF – we have already put up the structure – then we are moving to Maputsoe and, hopefully, Mohale’s Hoek. It is our desire that in two years’ time we will hopefully cover all the matches and put them on the FIFA+ streaming platform.”

WSL Top 4 fixtures:
Saturday (Bambatha)
Lijabatho Ladies vs. LDF Ladies
LMPS Ladies vs. Kick4Life Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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