Lioli Football Club president, Lebohang Thotanyana, is set to step down as premier league chairman following his recent appointment as Minister of Mining.
Thotanyana on Tuesday confirmed he would soon be relinquishing his premiership post but continue leading Lioli, who are on course for the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League title.
“I’m not leaving football because I will remain the president of Lioli. I will only step down as premier league chairman and am currently making preparations for a proper handover/takeover,” Thotanyana said.
An accountant by profession, Thotanyana was elected premier league boss in August 2011, replacing Tlholo Letete. Under his tenure, the league has managed to attract new sponsors and retain old ones, and the minister says he leaves the premiership post satisfied that he had played his part in elevating domestic football to a respectable level.
Thotanyana, who was elected Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) second vice-president in December 2012 but left the post in a huff last year, insisted the game was realising exponential growth under his leadership.
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved with my premier league colleagues since taking over as chairman in 2011. We have brought a lot of stability into the league and have also been getting long-term sponsorship deals, which had been difficult in the past,” said Thotanyana.
According to Thotanyana, one of the reasons why the topflight league had become more competitive over recent years was through revamping its administrative structure.
“For instance, some people did not buy into our idea of having a fulltime premier league administrator, who was going to be in charge of the office on a daily basis. However, we still went ahead and appointed Baitsi Motsamai last year, which has helped us grow as a league, and of-course, attract more sponsorship.
“In fact, the premier league is now more stable financially than it has ever been, which is one of the things that makes me proud as I prepare to leave office,” said Thotanyana, who pointed out long-term deals for the Independence Cup bankrolled by Metropolitan Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank, as well as the Top8 competition sponsored by LNIG, among some of the success stories of his tenure.
Meanwhile, Thotanyana pledged support for his successor and said football would always remain close to his heart.
“Well, I’m not leaving football completely as I will still be involved at Lioli and will also be available to support the new chairman,” Thotanyana said.
“His main challenge will be taking the league to another level, since we have done well as an executive.”