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New players’ body for Lesotho



MASERU – Finally, there is a Lesotho Football Players Association. Well, sort of.
This past weekend a provisional body made up of players from the Lesotho Football Association’s (LEFA) various football divisions was formed.
The players first met four weeks ago to discuss the long-awaited idea and on Sunday they finally put some action to their words.
For now, the LFPA is headed by an interim committee that will steer the ship while preparations go ahead to hold a general meeting that will elect a permanent committee and fill unoccupied executive positions.

At the moment, there are no notable senior players in the committee which is worrying, but Tumelo Mopapa, one of the association’s founders, said the LFPA invited all players to join and they decided to start with those available so they could register the association with LEFA.
Whether the country’s star players have not joined yet because they do not want to be seen as creators of the association, or whether they are fearful their opportunities in football would be limited is unclear.
However, Mopapa stressed that the association has been formed to help players thrive. He said the association’s main aim is to protect players in every aspect of their lives and he is hopeful the big guns will soon join as well.

“(The association) is here to protect the players in every aspect in their lives, on and off the pitch,” Mopapa explained.
“We have health services where we will teach them about first aid and how they can take care of themselves on their own.”
Mopapa said there are people eager to help the association.
“There are companies willing to work with us,” he said.
“We are talking to one of the insurance companies about what we call sports medical insurance where players can insure their talent. It is already happening in some other countries.”

In those countries players’ associations also work to educate and create opportunities for footballers.
Another important duty of such bodies is representing players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protecting their rights as football players.
One of the main challenges facing players in Lesotho is a lack of knowledge when it comes to the contracts they enter into with clubs.

Countless players do not know what they are signing and are often exploited by club owners who pay the players when they wish.
Players are routinely left helpless and Mopapa said the association will be working with some lawyers in the country to teach players about contracts and negotiations.
Recent months have seen a rise in contractual disputes between players and clubs that have had to go to LEFA to be resolved. Mopapa said if players are educated, they would have a better idea of what they are signing.
“The main issue is contracts, they are forced (to sign them) and they not clear to them,” he said.

“You don’t know whether you are signing for the season or not. Some teams will tell you they are giving you a one-season contract but when the season is over you are not a free agent. You will end up getting to 2023 with the same contract,” Mopapa said.
“It’s a lack of knowledge and understanding, our players see M5 000 and they sign on the dotted line. They are not looking at how their contract be terminated. They are not looking for the date when they will be paid. At the end of the month there is no money and no one comes to you to explain,” he lamented.

The association’s plans go beyond contracts, Mopapa added. He said the LFPA is planning “entrepreneur boot camps” which will educate players on how they can prepare for life beyond football by starting their own businesses or investing money.
Another plan is to have training camps for members who are free agents so they can still get coaching and remain match-fit while they are looking for new clubs.
The message from the newly-formed LFPA is a simple one: football players are workers as well and, therefore, like all workers, they deserve fair pay, work benefits, decent work hours and a safe working environment.

Interim Committee:
President: Tšeliso Sello
Vice president: Ntsane Lichaba
Secretary: Percy Mohami
Vice Secretary: Leshoboro Kori
Communication officer: Tšeole Ranthimo
Treasurer: Leluma Posholi

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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