Blaming refs for our poor football is the wrong call

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Moorosi Tsiane

LESOTHO Football Association (LeFA) secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi this week accused Vodacom Premier League teams of fixing matches.

Mohapi accused match officials of favouring some big teams with penalties or set pieces in crucial positions and close to the box to boost their chances of winning the matches.

The practice, Mohapi said, has led to certain teams dominating the domestic league for years and only to disappoint in international competitions.

Mohapi claimed that was one of the reasons behind Likuena’s dismal performance in international competitions.

The claims shocked me. The referees that Mohapi is accusing are under the purview of LeFA while there is a referees’ committee which is responsible for allocating games to referees.

The referees’ committee falls under LeFA. The secretary general could easily have summoned the body and registered his misgivings instead of making such allegations on radio.

I am failing to understand why Mohapi did not take up the matter with within the LeFA processes.

Mohapi’s rant comes after Likuena’s trip to Mozambique. The side lost to Mozambique 5-0 and again 1-0 to eSwatini in a mini-series meant to prepare the three national teams for this year’s COSAFA Cup. The tournament is on next month in Durban.

True, Likuena is performing dismally but appointing blame on referees’ supposed match-fixing does not make any sense.

If at all true, the performance of local teams in regional competitions has the least to do with the performance of referees. While Mohapi did not say which teams are allegedly benefitting from the alleged match-fixing, it is not a secret that Bantu, Lioli and Matlama have been exceptional in recent seasons. This can be evidenced by their dominance. A few years ago, it was Lioli. While all the teams have performed dismally in continental competitions, blaming referees is stretching it.

Similarly, Likuena’s failure to progress in the region and on the continent cannot be blamed on referees.

Instead, I think LeFA must take responsibility and make the necessary changes. This must be done starting with appointments of the right personnel to execute certain tasks. We have changed coaches, players and even venues but we have maintained the same officials with the structures of LeFA. This might be the time to make those changes instead of blaming referees.

If the association is aware of referees who are involved in match-fixing, then it must immediately take action instead of waiting for the cancer to poison our football. We want to see results and LeFA must do the right thing.

 

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