Lioli finally pays Top4 bonuses

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Moorosi Tsiane

LIOLI FC has finally paid their squad the bonuses for winning this year’s edition of the Independence Top4 tournament in October with the management allaying fears that the team’s poor run of form has been the player’s way of registering their displeasure at the delayed payment.

The team’s communications and marketing manager Tšeliso Lerata rubbished rumours that Lioli players were on industrial action.

Tse Nala beat arch rivals Bantu 2-1 in the final to clinch the M200 000 first prize in October.

The management is said to have promised players some bonuses if they won the tournament. The team won the tournament and gave Lioli supporters something to cheer about following their disastrous season last year. For the first time since 2012 the team finished the season without any silverware.

Sources linked the team’s poor run of form to the players’ displeasure with the management’s failure to fulfil promises.

“They had promised to give players some money if they won the Top4 and players played their hearts out and delivered so it was now up to the management to keep on the end of their promise but they haven’t paid them,” the source said.

This follows Lioli disappointing results in their last two matches where they lost against Likhopo 1-nil at home before losing by a similar margin to relegation threatened Swallows at Ratjomose Ground.

“The players are not happy with the management and they are also suspecting that some of the executive committee members are misusing the teams’ funds to which they attribute the delay in payment of the bonuses,” the source said.

Lioli will go into their last match of the year on Saturday against rookies Galaxy seating ninth on the log. They have won four, lost six and drawn once.

They have lost to Kick4Life, LCS, Liphakoe, Majantja, Likhopo and Swallows.

This publication has learnt that the players were this week given M1500 each towards their bonuses.

However, Lerata yesterday refuted the allegations that the players were demonstrating with a poor showing on the field of play.

“I think people always want to exaggerate situations and stir some trouble for us,” Lerata said.

“Lioli players have never come to us this season complaining about the money which we had promised them because they know that once we got the money they would get it. We kept them informed that we still did not have the cash and when we got it, we gave it to them.

“Of course, we had promised them money but at the same time there were some day to day business that we had to run at the office like paying the same players’ salaries so we couldn’t sacrifice salaries for bonuses hence the delay because that money from Top4 was used to attend to other issues which were urgent then.”

Lerata said most of the matches they lost except the two against Likhopo and Swallows were not consecutive hence they don’t have any reason to believe that the players were plotting against the management.

“I think we are just going through a rough patch. We have lost many matches of course, which is unusual for us but we didn’t lose consecutive matches except the games against Likhopo and Swallows so we don’t have any reason to believe that the players didn’t want to play.”

He also said Lioli, as a team that is going through transition, there is an expectation that it would not be business as usual.

“This is a new team. We have around 80 percent new players as well as a new technical team so the transition is always going to be difficult. We just need to be patient and very soon we will be reaping the rewards.

“As a football team, sometimes we will win matches and sometimes we will lose. That is just how it is and we have to admit it and see how we go out of this rough patch.”

Lerata said they are still behind their technical team and are not even thinking of firing them.

“Like I have said, we are going through a transition and we knew it was always going to be a difficult phase for us but we will get over it. Three seasons ago the Bantu were going through a similar process but look at them now, they are enjoying the benefits.

“We support our coaches and we believe in them. It is still early days for us to start panicking. Let’s wait until second round and see how we will fare,” Lerata said.

Attempts to get a comment from Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.

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