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Mohapi speaks on league future



MASERU – Last week Vodacom Premier League clubs agreed to abort the current season in order to start preparing for a new one.
The clubs gave their recommendation to the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) whose job is to take it to the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) national executive committee (NEC) which will make the final decision.

That will be easier said than done, however, because the NEC has a lot of issues to consider before it can make any decision.
The NEC’s decision does not revolve around top-flight teams alone, all teams and leagues that fall under LEFA’s auspices must also be considered and consulted.

Speaking on Tuesday, LEFA’s secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the association does not want to find itself in “regulatory crises”.
Mohapi also revealed that, at the time of writing, the PLMC had not submitted any letter to his office regarding the recommendations by premiership clubs.

On top of aborting the 2020/21 season, clubs also recommended that no relegation or promotion of teams take place.
As things stand, neither the Vodacom Premier League nor A-Division has played the threshold of 75 percent of games which is required to consider the season as played. The NEC, therefore, has to decide what to do when it comes to relegation and promotion.

“The decision of what should happen with the season should take into cognisance what is happening in the other divisions,” Mohapi told thepost.
“For example, assuming the A-Division had played 76 percent of their games and the Premier League had played 52 percent, what would the regulations say? So some decision has to be taken facilitated by the NEC because if you play 75 percent of the league then the element of promotion and relegation comes in because the league is not considered to have been aborted,” he added.

Mohapi said there are no issues with the Women’s Super League (WSL) because its season is over. He said there would not be any issues with the B and C-Divisions either but it gets tricky when it comes to which teams would be promoted to the A-Division from the B-Division.
Mohapi said LEFA does not want to promote teams without relegation because that would compromise the leagues involved.

“It is not cut out there in cloth, you’ve got to also get the buy-in of the A-Division clubs, the buy-in of the referees from their management, you also got to get the buy-in of the sponsors, it’s not like a group of 16 or 32 people are going to decide,” Mohapi said
Because the impasse means Lesotho is being left behind on the global football calendar, getting buy-in from all stakeholders should not be difficult but it must be packaged well, Mohapi said.

A-Division teams are set to meet next week to decide what they want to do. If they decide to wait until Covid-19 cases decrease and sport is allowed to return and then continue their current season that would further complicate things.
“I would say let’s end the season on August 30 and use the month of September to prepare for the next season,” Mohapi said.
“Around October 15 we would start (the new season) only with vaccinated personnel so that if a fourth and fifth wave comes, you can at least play matches knowing that even if the players may contract the virus everybody will be safe,” he added.

“We need to get ourselves out of the situation where we only think about numbers rising, we must also consider how we can mitigate the numbers,” Mohapi said.
Mohapi said there is a lot that the NEC will have to take into consideration when making a decision on the way forward.
He said he will suggest a mini-league to replace the full 2021/22 season if the current impasse continues beyond the next two months.
“(If) we can’t get started until November I will present (that we) have a mini league between November and end of May,” he said.

Mohapi said his proposed mini-league would not be a full season but would at least give Lesotho football clarity such as having a team in next year’s CAF Champions League edition.
This year Lesotho will not have a representative in Africa’s premier club competition for the first time since 2010 because of the current stalemate.
“(My suggestion is) let’s just have a competition until next May and we will restart our league in August 2022,” Mohapi said.
“Let’s have a competition that will determine the team we will enrol in CAF competitions next year.”

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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