Soccer season roars into life

MASERU — The 2011/12 Vodacom premier league season roars into life on Saturday, with defending champions LCS battling it out against first runners-up LDF at Ratjomose.

The match is one of the three being played on the season’s opening day.

The last time the Lesotho Correction Service and Lesotho Defence Force met they played to a goalless draw on the last day of the season.

However LCS went on to win the league title on goal difference.

Also on Saturday Maduma lock horns with Joy while Matlama play Linare. Both matches will be played in Leribe.

This season however brings new developments with all the 12 premier league teams having successfully acquired new club licenses.

The clubs go into the new term knowing all too well that players will have to stay at their current teams for the next three years before they can seek transfer.

This is according to the new club licensing system introduced by the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) earlier this year.

Lefa facilities and administration manager Mokhosi Mohapi confirmed with the Lesotho Times that all the 12 premier league teams have acquired licenses.

“All the 12 teams have completed their applications and have all been given their licenses,” Mohapi said on Tuesday.

“The clubs are currently registering their players now and by the way things look, we will be ready for the kick-off,” he said.

He said the new club licensing system is the right direction towards professionalising football in the country.

“I think that this is a step in the right direction. It will set the tone for better organisation of local football,” Mohapi said.

Mohapi however said it was a difficult task trying to convince all the premier league teams to comply with the new standards.

“I did fight with them and managed to convince them to comply. FC Likhopo was the last to comply.

“They had to work very fast to comply before registering their players. In fact, Bishop Molatoli was at my office yesterday (Monday) sorting out the players’ applications,” he said.

He added that it was still too early to say whether Lesotho would be able to turn professional by 2014 as projected in the Mohale Declaration.

“Look, talking about professionalism is a big undertaking. I would rather suggest we looked at it in three phases of organisation, packaging and semi-pro.

“Organisation entails getting clubs to order by creating a conducive football environment that is achieved by having the right personnel in our teams.”

Mohapi said packaging entails defining brand value and then being able to sell a proper value which will yield results for clubs, club owners, players, sponsors, media, spectators and finally the national teams.

“There is a long way to go, however, we need to all pull together and be positive.  We can’t compare ourselves to SA (South Africa) in terms of the economy, but if we have the will to succeed, then we will,” he said.

He added, “It’s no point having our association’s president (Salemane Phafane) sitting on the Cosafa executive as its vice president and our league languishing around the rock bottom.

“I think the time is opportune to take a quantum leap and catch up with the rest of the world. So talking two years is not enough, three or maybe four for semi-pro.”

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