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Something is wrong at Linare

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

PREMIER League giants Linare are once again having a season to forget and are languishing in the wrong side of the table as the clock ticks towards the end of the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season.

It’s not for the first time that I have written about Linare’s falling standards, which have led to Tse Tala becoming a laughing stock in recent years.

This is a team that has helped establish the careers of some of the finest soccer players to have graced the beautiful game in this country such as Thulo ‘Magic Touch’ Leboela and Emmanuel ‘Garincha’ Phamotse.

Of course, in recent years, Mabuti Potloane is the only player who has really caught the eye of a lot of people having come close to leading the club to the Premier League title during the 2013/14 season, which led him to winning the league’s Player of the Season accolade that year.

Ever since Potloane left his boyhood club for Matlama, things have gone from bad to worse for Linare as they also lost several players such as Tšiu Moorosi and Kopano Motaung, who had shown potential while donning the green and white colours of the Hlotse outfit.

What is really shocking for me is that Linare has good sponsorship from the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) compared to most of the Premier League clubs that have to survive without a sponsorship.

Despite the backing from LNIG that sees Tse Tala pocketing M500 000 every season, there has been nothing to show for it as the club has been playing for survival for the last four years.

Going for such a long time without silverware for a team with so much history is an insult by itself to the supporters but even worse, Linare is now a team that plays for survival every season.

The changing and chopping of coaches and the instability in the management of the club have also not helped the situation. I think there is a serious need for all these matters to be attended to urgently to help Linare go back to its glory days again.

Something is obviously wrong at Linare and I’m worried that if it’s not sorted out soon, this club will end up vanishing in the same manner that now defunct Arsenal collapsed despite having a colourful history in Lesotho’s football.

This is a sad state of affairs because Linare should be competing for silverware every season being one of the biggest clubs in the country.

Linare is not the only team in the league that is faced with serious administration challenges and has led to poor performances on the field of play.

This has become common among the community owned clubs that are always faced with power struggles in their management structures.

A team like Swallows, which is another of the community owned club, has had the same problems and seems to be on its way back to the A Division after just a year of top flight football.

Swallows also have a huge history having also produced some of the best players to have graced the game in the past.

I cannot leave out Majantja as their situation has also been just as bad being marred by instability on and off the field.

I think this is unfair to the communities of Mohale’s Hoek as well as that of Mazenod, who were surely excited to have their clubs were playing top flight football again.

But at the same time, it must have hurt a lot to see their beloved teams being joke that they were throughout this season.

Swallows are at the bottom of the table with just 12 points after 23 games having registered only two victories while second from bottom Majantja have 15 points after the same number of games and have only four wins.

Honestly, it’s not a surprise that the two teams are at the bottom of the table and have very little chance of surviving the relegation axe from their remaining respective three games.

All this is a result of the on and off the field problems that these clubs have had.  In the case of Linare, I think luck is once again on their side and might survive the chop while Majantja and Swallows might not be that fortunate because time is running out for them.

Based on how much most of the clubs in the Premier League as well as the A Division have struggled in terms of their administrations, one can only hope that the football authorities will call for an Indaba to look at all the problems that are hampering the progress of the beautiful game in the country.

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