Local teams must employ sustainable models

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Moorosi Tsiane

IN the last edition of the Lesotho Times’ sister paper, the Sunday Express, we carry a story headlined “Thotanyana yet to decide on Lioli return”.

In the story, the former Lioli president claimed to have been approached by some supporters to return and “save their sinking ship”.

This comes just a year after Thotanyana decided to step down as Lioli president. He also decided against standing in last year’s elections.

The new committee that was elected at the polls, unfortunately, couldn’t last for a year as four presidents have now resigned within a year.

Acting president Itumeleng Mpokathe was the last to quit in March 2020. He followed President Tšeliso Tekateka and vice presidents Lehlohonolo Thotanyana and Tšeliso Mou.

The rate of resignations is just worrying and it has become increasingly clear that there is something wrong in the team’s system.

Thotanyana was elected in 2008 and led the side for 11 years becoming the side’s most successful president. He was the first to introduce monthly allowances and without any shadow of doubt, this was a great move for the whole footballing fraternity.

This model was later adopted by the likes of Bantu, Matlama, Likhopo and eventually most of the league teams are paying their players; thanks to Thotanyana.

Lioli is sponsored by the Alliance Insurance Company and I understand they are using part of the money they get from the insurance giants to pay the players’ salaries monthly.

While Thotanyana’s idea was a good one, I however, believe their model is not sustainable and it was no surprise that the committee that came after him struggled to keep up forcing many of them to resign from the hot seat.

Lioli’s model, just like that of Bantu, is unsustainable. Similarly, anyone who succeeds current Bantu president Leuta John Leuta will struggle to keep up.

It’s a fact that although some of our teams have sponsors, the money they get from the sponsors is inadequate for the sides to sustain high wage bills for sides like Bantu and Lioli. The sides end up relying on some members of the management’s deep pockets because the sponsorship alone cannot sustain the salaries.

Lioli and Bantu are known to be the highest paying teams in the country and almost all local players desire donning their colours.

While I am not saying teams should pay players peanuts, I also think it is also absurd for presidents to design models which cannot be inherited by their successors, especially in the community teams.

A system should be fluid on the departure of its designer. If it’s not, then the designers too would have failed.

If Thotanyana returns to Lioli, I advise him to re-work his model so that it can be steered by anyone after him to avoid situations where the team will struggle for sustenance in his absence.

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