MASERU — First division teams are yet to get their prize monies more than a month after the season ended because most of them do not have bank accounts.
Vodacom Lesotho, which sponsors the Premier League and the A-Division, wants to pay the teams through bank transfers.
A-Division secretary ‘Mifi Nteso told the Lesotho Times the payments had been held back because the teams did not have bank accounts.
“We have given the claims to Lesotho Football Association
Football in Lesotho is played at an amateur level with teams run on shoe-string budgets mostly financed by well-wishers.
Players do not have contracts and at best they only get paltry allowances and winning bonuses.
Vodacom Lesotho has given a total of M170 200 to the A-Division, which is divided into two streams of 10 teams each.
The winner of each stream is entitled to M12 750, with the runners-up pocketing M9 000.
The third and fourth-placed teams each get M6 500, while fifth up to eighth receive M4 500.
The bottom two teams each get M3 500.
There is also M8 500 set aside for the winners of the A-Division championship decider pitting the winners of the two streams against each other.
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The losers of that decider get M5 500.
Then there is also the Vodacom A-Division Top 8 knock-out tournament which gives the winners M8 000 and the losing finalists M6 500.
The third-placed team gets M5 000 with the fourth pocketing M4 000.
The losing quarter-finalists each receive M3 300.
Although the money is a far cry from what football in the region pays, the local teams badly need it.
They need money for transport, accommodation and other expenses incurred in running teams.
But, unless they open bank accounts, it will be difficult for them to receive what is due to them.
Nteso said Vodacom Lesotho only came on board when the A-Division season had already started and the teams were not aware of what the sponsor expected of them.
“One of the greatest challenges we faced this season was the communication between the (A-Division) committee and the sponsor,” he said.
“This past season sponsorship issues were sorted out late.
“So we started the season without having met the sponsor to discuss what they expected from us.
“But we are going to meet to see how we can improve things for next season.”
Lefa is battling to turn domestic football professional in the hope of attracting meaningful sponsorship and, maybe, television coverage.
The Mohale Declaration — a roadmap designed to help turn domestic football professional — was signed in 2008.
By 2014, according to the declaration, Lesotho should have a professional league.
That means all teams will have to meet minimum requirements such as having offices to operate from, constitutions, rubber stamps, registered supporters and, needless to mention, bank accounts.
All teams in the Vodacom Premier League had met the minimum requirements by the end of the season, including providing marshals, a stretcher and a demarcated technical area during matches.
It will be an uphill task though to have the teams meeting the standards and abiding by the dictates of professional football.
Meanwhile, Nteso has confirmed Maduma have been promoted to the Vodacom Premier league next season.
Their promotion was uncertain after second-placed Mpharane Celtics appealed over the two teams’ last games of the season which had to be replayed.
Nteso also confirmed Melele have been relegated to the B-Division after the collapse of their long-running appeal against the result of their last match of the season in which they claimed their opponents, Little Flowers, had used an unregistered player.
The Vodacom A-Division, which is divided into two streams, was beset by controversies during last season’s run-in which delayed the outcome of the campaign.
The most recent was a case between Melele and Little Flowers.
Melele had appealed against their 2-1 loss to Little Flowers on the final day of the season, claiming their opponents had used an unregistered player.
“Melele had asked the (Lefa) national executive committee to intervene but it said the original result should stand,” Nteso said.
“From the start our standpoint was that our work during the season was completed.
“We have just been waiting for the outcome of the appeals.
“Of course when decisions are made one side will not be happy with the outcome.”
He added: “The teams that have been relegated are Sekamaneng Young Stars and Melele from the Southern Stream and Manamela Young Stars and Berea LMPS from the Northern Stream.”
The clubs that have been promoted to the first division, meanwhile, are Qoaling Highlanders and Qacha’s Nek LMPS.
(Lefa) but the problem is that the sponsor wants to pay the teams through bank transfers,” he said.