LeFA punishes Lioli players

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Likuena striker Tšepo Seturumane (right) controls the ball during Sunday’s AFCON qualifier at Setsoto stadium.

Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) says it will not bankroll the participation of three Lioli players’ in the CAF Champions League in retaliation over the trio’s decision to turn down call-ups to the national team in December 2016.

Kopano Tseka, Tšepo Lekhooana and Tšepo Seturumane were among seven key players from different clubs who refused to honour the national team call-ups and will now be excluded when LeFA bankrolls Lioli’s campaign in the CAF Champions league which gets underway next month with a tie against Zimbabwean champions Caps United.

LeFA funds the participation of the country’s representatives in the tournament including the costs of hosting of the visiting team, the six-day camp prior to the match as well as allowances when the team travels outside the country.

“The national executive committee has regrettably and with a heavy heart had to accept the decisions by Messiers  Tšepo Seturumane, Tšepo Lekhooana and Kopano Tseka all of Lioli and Mr Basia Makepe of LMPS Football Club in terms of which they decided not to take part in and play for the national teams and the country under the auspices of LeFA by reason of the fact that they do not accept the terms and conditions set by the association for participating in the national team,” Lefa said in statement this week.

“Key in the conditions is the issue of payment of allowances in the sum not less than M5 000 which these players have in the past demanded culminating in endless strikes in the national team.

“In the light of the foregoing, the association will not spend any funds or incur any expenses on the three Lioli players who have decided to shun the association, national team and the country.

“Their team is however, at liberty to use them in the competitions locally and internationally in which it will be participating in as the players are not suspended,” LeFA further stated.

However, Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana expressed disappointment over LeFA’s decision, adding they were “surprised because we were supposed to meet last week to find a solution to the matter”.

“The decision is very unfair to us because we did not violate any rule and football is a game of rules,” Thotanyana said.

“First we were threatened that we will not be registered for the competition but when they realised that there is no rule backing their decision they decide to exclude some of our players from funding.

“It is not the first time that a player has asked to be excused from national team duty and we want to know which rule we violated as a club.

“We feel there is no consistency, fairness and transparency in the decision taken by LeFA in this matter,” he said, adding the club would write to the premier league to address the matter because LeFA was reneging on its promise to fully fund them.

In the same statement, LeFA also announced that Hlompho Kalake of Bantu had since reversed his earlier decision to retire from the national team and was now eligible for call-up.

LeFA also said Tšoanelo Koetle of Lioli had assured them of his availability for the future call-ups despite not being available for the December camp.

“Regarding Jane Thaba-Ntšo (Matlama), the association is still investigating the facts regarding his response to the letter that was earlier written to him and no position has been taken until the completion of the investigation,” reads part of LeFA’s statement.

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