Phafane threatens to suspend soccer players

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Moorosi Tsiane

LESOTHO Football Association (LeFA) president Salemane Phafane has warned footballers from different leagues to desist from playing social soccer during the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) induced break or risk being suspended.

LeFA and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) and other league management committees decided to suspend league activities for two weeks on the back of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The break was however, extended in line with the government’s lockdown which started on 30 March and ended on last week. Although the lockdown has soccer activities have remained suspended.

And Phafane on Mondays said some players who have defied the directive to stop playing soccer were risking suspension.

His warning comes on the back of an increase of social matches organised by players from different leagues. Most of the matches are played on Sundays.

Speaking during an interview with a local station, Phafane said if any of professional players were caught participating in social matches then they risked suspension.

“It has come to our attention that there are players who have been playing football against LeFA’s orders that all soccer activities should be on hold as the country is still trying to curb the spread of Covid-19,” Phafane said.

“I strongly advise such individuals to stop because once we catch them, we will suspend them.”

He said teams should also ensure that their players abide by the rules to avoid disappointments.

“It is also the teams’ responsibility to call their players to order because once a player is suspended, then the teams would be affected once the league resumes.”

Phafane said the practice is putting the lives of other players, who may not be participating in the unsanctioned matches, at risk.

“The players are putting the lives of other players at risk and we cannot allow that.”

The LeFa boss also called on the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), Area chiefs and legislators from different constituencies to ban all footballing activities in their respective jurisdictions.

“We all know that such people are contravening the lockdown regulations, so I appealing to the LMPS, chiefs, counsellors and legislators to work with us and ensure that everyone is abiding by the rules. Offenders must be taken to task.”

Phafane said they were yet to decide when the league should return.

“We will only resume soccer activities when the government has given us the greenlight to resume,” Phafane said.

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