‘Don’t pay this man’

MASERU — An opposition MP is up in arms against the government for continuing to pay former Lesotho national football team coach Zavisa Milosavljevic (pictured) — three months after he was fired.
The Serbian coach is getting M76 000 every month until a termination of employment notice period of six months ends.
Milosavljevic, appointed Likuena coach in April last year, was fired in August over poor results.
He had signed a three-year contract with the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa), with the government funding his salary.
Sello Maphalla, the deputy president of the Lesotho Workers Party, said it was better to channel the money being paid to Milosavljevic to sports development.
He said it was scandalous for the government to continue paying Milosavljevic.
“It is quite obvious that we have a problem with sports facilities in the country,” Maphalla told the Lesotho Times this week.
“We could focus on developing a ground in Leribe, which does not have one, instead of paying somebody who is doing nothing that kind of money.”
The MP said it was ironic that Milosavljevic was still being paid when national team players get nothing for international matches.
“There is a big concern that players are not being paid while somebody doing just nothing is being paid a lot of money,” he said.
Maphalla first raised the issue of Milosavljevic in parliament last Friday.
Sports Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono defended the decision to continue paying Milosavljevic, saying it was a contractual obligation.
“Litumellano li ne li ntse li le teng (The agreement still stands),” Lepono responded to Maphalla in parliament last Friday.
“Le uena oa tseba u le moparamente hore ha litumellano li fela litaba li sala li ntse li le joalo (Even you as a parliamentarian you know that when a contract is terminated, the agreement remains as it is).”
Lepono told the parliament that the government has spent over a million on Milosavljevic during his 16-month stay with Likuena.
She said the government had, besides his US$10 000 monthly salary, spent M38 195 on furniture for Milosavljevic.
The coach also got three return tickets worth M60 000 at the expense of the government, the minister said.
Lepono said the Serb was availed a hired car from Avis at a cost of  M6 425.06 a month.
In total, the government spent M1 416 995.96 on Milosavljevic during his stint as Likuena coach.
During the six-month notice period, Milosavljevic is due to earn about M456 000.
“In short he is still being paid for serving a six-month notice period after they agreed with Lefa to terminate his contract,” Lepono told the Lesotho Times in an interview this week.
She said her ministry was involved with Milosavljevic only in as far as “giving out money”.
“They (Milosavljevic and Lefa) have an agreement,” she said.
“We come in only to give out the money for his payment.
“Taba e kholo ke hore o ntse a pataloa (The main issue is that he is still being paid).”
Lepono asked the Lesotho Times to verify Milosavljevic’s contractual issue with Lefa.
“Verify this issue with Lefa,” she said.
“Tell somebody named Mohapi that I said he should answer you.”
Lefa acting chief executive officer Mokhosi Mohapi however refused to comment on the matter.
“Akere oa tseba hore rona le lona hare fane ka interview Pascalinah? (Pascalinah don’t you know that we cannot give you an interview?)” Mohapi asked this reporter.
“Fine ke ‘na a ka u arabang empa ha re fane ka interview le Lesotho Times (Fine, I am the one that can answer you but we do not give the Lesotho Times any interview).”
Lefa officials, funded by taxpayers, have been refusing to grant the Lesotho Times interviews since this paper broke the story about the association’s then impending sponsorship deal with Vodacom Lesotho.
Meanwhile, two coaches with Vodacom Premier League team said they saw nothing wrong with Milosavljevic continuing to receive money if that’s what he agreed with Lefa.
“I do not have an opinion on this matter because Zavisa had a contract,”
Lioli coach Halemakale Mahlaha said.
“This is because they had already signed a contract and I do not know their agreement in the contract.”
Lerotholi Polytechnic coach Naleli Tsílo said that it was naive to think that Milosavljevic’s notice payment could have been used to develop sports in the country.
“Thinking that way is useless because, as it is, it’s already done,” Tsílo said.
“Maybe if there was a clause in his contract stipulating that if we face this situation, his salary will be used to develop sports it could have been better.”
Under Milosavljevic, Likuena played 17 matches – losing nine, drawing six and winning only twice.
Milosavljevic’s former assistant Leslie Notsi has since taken over as Likuena coach.

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