Football hooligans disrupt match again

MAZENOD — Unruly behaviour has once again reared its ugly head in domestic football with the latest incident forcing match officials to call off the Vodacom Premier League match between Swallows and Majantja on Saturday.

The match was abandoned four minutes from time after spectators showered assistant referee Moepi Moepi with a liquid suspected to be beer.

Fearing for their safety, the match officials prematurely ended the game with Majantja leading 1-0.

Following the incident the Lesotho Referees Association (LRA) has called for stepped-up security for match officials during games.

At the beginning of the year referees had threatened to boycott matches unless they were guaranteed security following incidents of violence against match officials especially in the Premier League.

LRA public relations officer Rethusitsoe Lebaka this week called on football authorities to ensure referees were safe during matches.

He however said referees were unlikely to consider boycotting matches following the incident in Mazenod last Saturday.

“We won’t do that,” Lebaka told the Lesotho Times.

“Instead what we could do is remind them of our needs and urge them to try solving the problem.

“Nothing more, nothing less.”

The weekend match in Mazenod was virtually a relegation dogfight.

Both teams were desperate for the maximum points to avoid the dreaded chop from the Premier League.

Swallows president Mabote Masienyane has sprung to the defence of his club which is likely to face sanctions from the Premier League.

The team’s Mazenod ground is a typical open-field pitch with no fencing while fans are seated within metres of the patrolling assistant referees.

Masienyane said because of this scenario it was difficult to control spectators.

“I don’t think it is fair to punish Swallows for the poverty we have been burdened with,” he said, referring to playing facilities Premier League teams use.

“This is not the poverty of Swallows, but of our country.

“It is the poverty of Lefa and of the Premier League and these are facts we can’t run away from.”

Masienyane also said it was unfair to suspect Swallows supporters could have been the culprits.

“We were all seated together (with Majantja fans) and for the referee to say it was a Swallows fan who poured beer on him — if it is beer — is unreasonable,” he said.

“If he knows who did it exactly it means he was not concentrating on the match.

“There is no reason Swallows fans would act in that way because our player was offside.”

Masienyane said it could have been Majantja supporters who did it.

“They were fighting one of their own who they said had spoilt the game for them,” he said, referring to a brief scuffle among Majantja fans after the match.

Masienyane said it would only be fair for the match to be replayed.

“We want a replay,” he said.

“The Mohale Declaration says a team should have eight marshals, we had nine here today.”

Comments are closed.