Football should come first


Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA on Friday appealed against the Lesotho Football Association’s (LeFA) decision to end the 2019/20 football season in its current state and declare Bantu the Econet Premier League champions.

After a series of meetings between the LeFA national executive committee (NEC) and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) regarding the 2019/2020 season, it was resolved that the soccer season be ended on 31 July 2020. The log leaders in the respective leagues will be crowned champions.

LeFA suspended all soccer activities in mid-March this year on the back of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

When the leagues were suspended, Bantu were leading Econet Premier League with 50 points. Manonyane and CCX were leading the south and the north streams of the A Division respectively. LDF Ladies were leading the Women Super League with 36 points.

Bantu will be crowned the elite league champions for the fourth time while LDF Ladies will be crowned Women Super League champions for the third consecutive season.

But Tse Putsoa filled a protest saying the decision was irrational as it failed to ensure football fairness and merit and was in complete violation of the Lesotho Premier League and A Division Rules and regulations 2019 (as amended).

However, Matlama’s representatives failed to convince Disciplinary and Protests Committee (DISPROCO) and the case was dismissed a fortnight ago. The DISPROCO said LeFA’s decision was supported by the law.

But the country’s most successful is not taking this lying down and has appealed this decision again.

While many football fans supporters are furious with Matlama for its decision of taking on LeFA and I personally understand where they are coming from.

I know we are living in a democratic country and Matlama are exercising their democratic right but the question one must ask is: “Is Matlama fighting the decision for its personal gain or for the good of football in general”?

Matlama were the 2018/19 season league champions but they failed to defend their title. There have been rumours that Matlama were not expecting Bantu to be declared champions so that they would still stand a chance to represent Lesotho in the next edition of the CAF Champions’ League after a lacklustre performance last year. The poor performance saw them being booted out of the competition in the preliminary phase after losing to Angolan side, Petro Atlético de Luanda.

I find it absurd and so selfish for a side which boasts of such a great history being the country’s most successful team with 10 premier league titles in their cabinet.

LeFA have made it clear that should the league be ended in its current state, then teams will not get any relief funding as it is not mandatory that the M35 million from FIFA and CAF should be shared among the teams.

The question that I ask myself is should Matlama win this case, how will the rest of the teams survive in the next season given that there won’t be any prizes for this season.

Even if Matlama were to have it their way, it would be a mountain to climb for them to the 16-points gap to catch up with Bantu.

At the end of the day, it’s the game that’s going to suffer because of these unnecessary squabbles. Teams do not have funds to fund operations as well as for ensuring that they comply with Covid-19 regulations.

By any measure, if at all Matlama gets it their way, then there will be a disaster next season

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