MASERU –– LCS have received the blessing of Lesotho’s football governing body, LEFA, to participate in next year’s CAF Champions League.
The decision was taken at a closed-door high-level meeting held at Bambatha on Saturday the Lesotho Times has learnt.
In effect LEFA have rubber-stamped the Premier League’s prior insistence that Masheshena will be Lesotho’s representatives in Africa’s premier club competition instead of champions Lioli.
It means LCS who could only finish third in the 2008-09 season, are all but assured to play in next year’s Champions League.
“(After Saturday’s meeting) LEFA wrote to the Premier League on Monday to endorse their stance,” LEFA’s acting chief executive officer Mokhosi Mohapi said yesterday.
Lioli forwarded a letter to LEFA last week arguing their case for Champions League participation. But LEFA have sent correspondence to Lioli referring them to a meeting that apparently took place last November where all Premier League clubs agreed to LCS’s participation in the Champions League in 2010.
“We referred Lioli to a meeting of November last year,” Mohapi said.
Lioli have been adamant that, as champions, it is their right to play in the Champions League. They also argued that Premier League forums had no administrative power to change regulations, but could only make recommendations.
Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana had gone as far as saying the club would not stop until their “complaints were listened to”.
But Mohapi was confident the decision was final.
“We will deal with the matter as it unfolds (but) we have statutes and regulations that will resolve any issue amicably,” Mohapi said.
This year Lesotho had no Champions League representation after LCS, champions in 2007/08, weren’t registered. But they were then promised a place in next year’s edition instead by the Premier League.
The issue took a twist when Lioli ended a 24-year drought to become league champions in May. However it is now almost 100 percent certain LCS will play in the Champions League next year.
“As far as we know we are playing in the Champions League next year,” Masheshena general secretary Lehlohonolo Matlosa said yesterday.