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Swallows unhappy with People’s Cup votes



MASERU – Vodacom Premier League outfit Swallows are crying foul over the voting results in the People’s Cup. Swallows missed out on making it into the top four slots by just 50 votes.

Instead, the honour will go to Bantu, Lesotho Defence Force, Linare and Lioli who finished as the top four in the SMS voting competition. The voting lines opened in early March and closed on Sunday, April 16.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the club said it has written to the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) asking for fairness and transparency.

When the voting lines were opened, there was an option for bulk voting and each team was assigned its own merchant code.

The bulk voting however was closed before the normal voting. Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), which was running the voting process on Sunday evening live streamed the voting which allowed each team to see where they were. The stream was closed at 11pm which gave clubs one hour before cut off at midnight.

When live streaming was closed, Swallows was leading the pack and had a healthy lead on at least three teams that ended up surpassing them.

Swallows brand manager Atang Tlopo said they were surprised when they saw themselves in fifth position the following day.

“We were on top when the live streaming stopped, we knew voting was still going on and we were not exception to that. To our surprise our happiness was busted and we were fifth, maybe it’s something that is explainable, that we were outvoted by other teams. Our dissatisfaction comes from lack of transparency that the live streaming provided, this make us have complaints,” Tlopo said.

“As stakeholders in the competition our expectation was that there would be an element of transparency and I think live streaming was an answer to that, but things were done the other way round. It was closed before the voting ended. We were denied the right to know. In a competition where we are participating with our fans’ money, we were denied the right to know how it’s going,” he said.

Tlopo began his address by saying Swallows were given a wrong team code and it wasn’t rectified for a while. By the time it was fixed voting had already started and they believe their votes may have gone to another team which would be Naughty Boys.

“Our supporters showed by their votes that they want their team to participate in this tournament. When we first started there was team codes swap, it was announced that we were T15 but that was a code for another team. There is a chance we lost votes that went to another team, we were left behind when the voting started,” he said.

The club’s vice-president admin, Lichaba Setjeo, said when they looked at their final votes as compared to when live streaming stopped, there was an increase of 300 votes. However, their opponents’ votes increased drastically which gave them a suspicion that others may have still used bulk voting.

Tlopo said they have asked for fully audited results to be sure that what has been presented to the public is a true reflection of the voting process.

“Under normal circumstances in competitions where there is voting, before you release results you have to audit them. We would like to have fully audited results, even if they can give us of these five teams so that we can see how they were voted for,” he said.

Puleng Masoabi, Econet public relations officer, said bulk voting was closed a few days before the single voting, and the teams knew this.

“I can assure you there was no bulk voting (on Sunday April 16), it was closed a few days before and it was just single voting (system) via SMS,” she said.

She said Econet have not received any complaint from Swallows, adding that any communication about any complaint will come from PLMC.

On the closure of the live stream an hour before voting ended, she said it was in the terms and conditions that were laid out for the teams before the voting started.

The communication was made via the clubs’ communications and marketing managers so, therefore, clubs cannot say they did not know.

On the code swap, she said she is hearing about it for the first time, she is not aware of such. “We run everything fairly and we have the report. Should there be a problem we will release it, but they must not accuse us without proof,” she said.

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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