MASERU — Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) coach, Malefetsane Pheko, has been slapped with a two-match suspension for “insulting” a referee, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
LDF have also been fined M500 by the Premier League Management Committee for Pheko’s confrontation with referee Matheola Makhobalo during the team’s league match against Mpharane Celtics a fortnight ago.
LDF lost the match 2 — 1.
Premier league management committee communications and marketing manager, Lehlohonolo Matlosa, confirmed the suspension on Monday.
“Yes it is true that he (Pheko) has been suspended for the next two matches starting this weekend,” Matlosa said.
“His team has also been fined M500 after Pheko uttered unkind words to the referee during their league match against Mpharane Celtics.”
The committee said it had decided to suspend Pheko after studying the referee’s match report.
Pheko will miss LDF’s league matches against Maduma and Matlama which are scheduled for Sunday and next Saturday, respectively.
Speaking in an interview with the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Pheko said: “I have just received my suspension letter as we speak today stating that my suspension starts immediately.”
He was not on the bench on Saturday when LDF played to a two-all draw against Bantu.
Pheko said he was suspended for protesting after two of his players, Mojela Letsie and Thabo Mphethe, were both fouled during their tie against Mpharane Celtics two weeks ago.
“I was just commenting on referee Makhobalo’s decision to give my player Letsie a yellow card yet he was the one who had been fouled,” he said.
Mphethe was later admitted to Makoanyane military hospital on the same day where he had his leg cast in plaster. He is now recovering well, Pheko said.
Pheko said he decided not to sit on the bench last Saturday because he did not want his team to be docked points.
He noted that this suspension negatively affected his team’s performance.
“It has negatively affected our performance because as a coach I had been with the team for the rest of the week and could have reminded the players to apply things we had practised,” he said.
Pheko said he had no qualms against the league committee’s decision to suspend him.
He took over as LDF coach in January after Motheo Mohapi was posted to China for three months.