. . . as players protest against club

MASERU — Rovers players and coaching staff are up in arms over the state of the club’s administration amid allegations of corruption and deception.

The last straw seems to have been the sale of star striker Mpho Matsinyane to Bantu.

The Likuena international joined A Matšo Makaota from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) side last month.

But the transfer is mired in controversy because it was allegedly done without the knowledge of Rovers coach Thabo Thite and under the premise that Matsinyane’s licence had been lost.

The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) okayed the transfer because Rovers officials allegedly said Matsinyane’s licence was missing.

However, Thite says he has always had the player’s licence with him.

“I still have the licences for all the players who were with us last season,” he told the Lesotho Times.

“I have been running this team with the players for the last six months and as far as I know all the players are still here.”

It also appears a transfer fee was paid for Matsinyane although Rovers officials allegedly reported that he had signed for free.

Bantu’s communications and marketing manager Neo Mankimane yesterday confirmed that his club had paid Rovers a transfer for Matsinyane.

“There was a transfer fee but we can’t disclose that at the moment,” Mankimane told the Lesotho Times yesterday.

Matsinyane, popularly known as Mats, has played for Rovers for the past five seasons.

The situation at Rovers has become so bad players are planning to ask Lefa to intervene “because the squad has lost confidence in their administration”.

“Matsinyane is an international player that we adore. We don’t understand why he would be given away for free,” a senior Rovers player who wished to remain anonymous told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.

“We are going write to Lefa to intervene.”

Another player said: “We are fed up. What the players want to hear is what the committee is doing for the team.”

The episode seems to highlight serious problems with the structure and management of sport at NUL in general.

In April there were serious problems ahead of the Intervarsity Games in Swaziland as students were stuck at the Lesotho-South Africa border for a day because of lack of transport.

“We want (change) to include all sports,” one player said.

“We went to the intervarsity games but there was no transport and to return home it was a struggle.

“But Nedbank and Standard Bank had helped us with about M30 000 before we left.”

It appears the university’s football team has been the most affected.

For example, last season Rovers failed to pitch up for a league match against Nyenye Rovers on April 17.

“We didn’t go to Nyenye Rovers and to this day we don’t know why,” the senior player said.

The Roma side’s fall from grace was epitomised by their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Yet a decade ago Rovers were strong contenders in domestic football.

They won the league and Independence Cup in 1996 and participated in the Caf Champions League the following year.

Rovers team manager Ntsite Molapo denied the allegations.

“We released him to Bantu because he was done with his studies here. Rovers doesn’t have the finances that people think it does. Any money that comes in goes to the bursary.

He denied allegations of conflict within the club.

 “We have only realised now that the licence (for Matsinayane) was there. There is no conflict between the players and the management,” Molapo said.

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