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Violence riles Vodacom Lesotho

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — Vodacom Lesotho’s spokesperson Thabiso Mlungwane says the company, which sponsors league football in the country, is worried about its image after violence marred a high-profile match last Sunday.
Violence at the Vodacom Premier League fixture between Matlama and Lioli not only prematurely ended the match, but left several people injured.
One was shot and wounded by a gunman who is yet to be identified.
Mlungwane said the incidents at Pitso Ground posed questions for the telecommunications company.
“When things like that happen you ask yourself how they can be allowed to happen,” he said.
“I’m not saying Vodacom are going to pull out their sponsorship, (but) we are very disappointed.
“We do not expect violence at our games.”
Last October Vodacom Lesotho gave Lesotho football a much-needed shot in the arm by sponsoring the country’s elite league to the tune of M3 million for the next three years.
Vodacom also announced a similar deal for the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular cup competition.
One of the major concerns at Sunday’s game was the lack of security and Mlungwane insisted security measures for league games were not the responsibility of the sponsor.
“As a sponsor you are not expected to play a front role in terms of administration (of the league), crowd control or security measures,” he said.
“The association has to make sure these things are in place.”
Premier League chairman Tlholo Letete, meanwhile, said the incidents on Sunday would prompt the league to impose tougher security measures at football games.
At the moment bottles are permitted into grounds and there no security checks at entrances.
“You will remember that we had a meeting with referees after the unsavoury incidents involving Majantja,” Letete said.
“One of the points that were raised was security. It is something the league is going to look into.”
Letete said it was up to clubs to make security arrangements at matches.
“The league can only help but the responsibility lies with the clubs,” he said.
“One of the minimum requirements is that at a game clubs should have at least eight visible stewards.
“You can’t say for a game like that eight people are not enough.”
Asked whether clubs could afford organising security, Letete said: “We still have the police. One of the things that we want is a clear demarcation between the supporters.”
Letete said the decision over the outcome of the abandoned game would be made this evening when the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) meets to elect two executive committee members.
Matlama were leading 3-0 when the match was called off 13 minutes from time.
The executives who are going to be replaced are PLMC vice chairman Motake Motake who is leaving due to work commitments and Moeketsi Pitso who resigned last week.
“This week we are going to meet on Thursday when we are going to fill two gaps in our executive and we will deal with the two issues,” Letete said.
“I wasn’t at the stadium  and I cannot say what went wrong because I haven’t seen the report.”

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