Lioli boss seeing red

MASERU — Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana has expressed shock at the Lesotho Football Association’s (Lefa) decision to award Matlama three points and three goals for the two sides’ abandoned match.
Lefa’s verdict overturned the Premier League’s earlier decision to have the match replayed at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, a neutral venue, on March 11.
The Premier League said it had ordered the replay after failing to conclusively determine what triggered the crowd trouble that forced the abandonment of the match with 13 minutes to go.
Matlama were leading 3-0 when the match, played at Pitso Ground on January 24, was called off.
However, Matlama appealed to Lefa against the Premier League’s decision to order a replay.
Lefa’s national executive committee then met last Friday and resolved to overturn the Premier League’s decision.
The latest ruling has, however, riled Lioli.
“We are shocked and surprised by the decision,” Thotanyana, chairman of the Teyateyaneng giants, told the Lesotho Times yesterday.
“We are not going to take it lying down.”
He said Lefa’s decision was a “blow to our soccer”.
“What is even more shocking is that Lioli, a club that stood to lose in the matter, were never given a chance to give their side of the story,” Thotanyana said.
“The decision has also been taken without input from the Premier League.”
Thotanyana questioned Lefa’s national executive committee’s authority to hear Matlama’s appeal.
“The NEC is not an appeals structure,” he said.
“The decision which was made by the Premier League was an administrative one and therefore could not be appealed.”
Thotanyana alleged the development could be a ploy to stifle his side’s chase for a second consecutive Premier League title.
“It says a lot of about the prospects of Lioli winning the league,” he said.
“There have been rumours that Lioli will not be allowed to win the league again.
“Whether this confirms that I cannot say, but you can judge for yourself.”
Lefa’s decision means Matlama take a six-point lead at the top of the Vodacom Premier League over Lioli with 10 matches to go.
This Saturday Matlama are away to Botha-Bothe Roses while Lioli host Majantja on Sunday.
Lioli are due to host Matlama on April 25 in their reverse fixture.
Weekend fixtures
Saturday: Botha-Bothe Roses vs Matlama (Butha-Buthe), Mphatlalatsane vs Lerotholi (St Monica’s), Linare vs Bantu (Hlotse) , Likhopo vs LDF (Central Prisons).
Sunday: Lioli vs Majantja (Teyateyaneng), Nyenye Rovers vs Swallows (Maputsoe), Joy vs Rovers (Hlotse), LCS vs LMPS (Central Prison).

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