LIOLI midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle is facing an uncertain future after he was barred from playing for his club in the opening fixture of the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season against Kick4Life on Sunday.
The talented anchor-man and former Likuena midfielder has been in trouble since he refused to undergo a drug test in October last year.
Koetle was last year set to appear before a disciplinary hearing that was to be convened by the Lesotho National Olympic (LNCO) in its capacity as the local National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO).
The player has also been side-lined from national duty pending finalisation of the case.
The LNOC was mandate by the World Anti-Doping Agency but Lioli challenged the matter through the country’s courts and winning the case to have its player back in action during the 2017/18 season.
The matter has now reached FIFA and the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has instructed Lioli not to use the player this season.
The Lesotho Times is in possession of LeFA’s letter to Lioli dated… where the football mother body directs the club not to use the player.
“Given that there is a matter regarding Mr Tšoanelo Koetle that is before FIFA emanating from the fact that both Mr Tšoanelo Koetle and Lioli Football Club took a matter before the ordinary courts of law of the Kingdom of Lesotho in spite of the Lesotho Football Association’s statutes prohibiting the referral of sport matters to the ordinary courts of law, and there is a matter still before the ordinary courts of law albeit at the Appeal Court and that Mr Tšoanelo Koetle has a matter before the National Anti-Doping Authority that has not been concluded, Lioli Football Club is therefore instructed by the Lesotho Football Association not to use Mr Tšoanelo Koetle in the league matches until such time that this matter is disposed of at all levels where it is being addressed,” the letter reads.
“This includes the Appeal Court and at the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.”
Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana told this publication that they suspected the NADO official of trying to play dirty as he had reportedly not followed due procedure prior to the requesting the test in the 2017/18 season.
According to the regulations, the anti-doping body is expected to run an education programme with all the 14-premier league teams before the players would undergo the testing. However, only Kick4Life managed to go through the programme last season.
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For his part, NADO Testing control officer, Thabo Tšoaeli, who requested the tests with Koetle, refuted claims that he had targeted the player.
“It is not true that there was foul play,” Tšoaeli said.
“Basically, what we do is we take registration of players from the Premier League for all clubs and we send that list to the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) which is our head office in Botswana.
“The tests are done during the off season or during regular training sessions and our system picks players randomly so it is not true that we specifically targeted Koetle.
“I attempted to test him twice and was unsuccessful on both occasions but it was on the second attempt that I learnt that the player was unwilling to do the test.”
Tšoaeli also told this publication that they have attempted to engage LeFA to roll-out the educational programme but said there was no proper feedback which would enable them to go ahead.
However, LeFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi refuted the claims and said the association had given the anti-doping body the go ahead to continue with the education programmes but it never took off due to NADO’s internal challenges.
Mohapi however, said he would comment further as the case was still before the courts but said he was confident that all the parties involved would find a solution to the matter and get Koetle back to action.