MASERU – A bitter battle over the control of Manonyane FC has re-surfaced, long after speculation that some of the club’s supporters want Mohau ‘White-Horse’ Thakaso-Maama to return to the presidential post of the Roma-based premiership side. Manonyane’s current president is Mokhosi Mohapi, who is also serving as the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) executive secretary. The battle over the control of the club has now turned toxic, with the current Manonyane FC leadership having accused Thakaso-Maama of meddling in the affairs of the club.
Thakaso, who once led Manonyane as the president some years ago, is currently not even part of the club’s management. Manonyane’s executive committee has since written to the club’s patron, Chief Mitchell Seeiso Maama, complaining about Thakaso-Maama’s interference. Principal Chief of Ha Maama in Roma, Chief Seeiso Maama, is meeting with the Manonyane executive committee in Roma today, following the latter letter’s in which they accuse Thakaso-Maama of meddling in the affairs of the club.
Chief Seeiso Maama is the patron of Manonyane FC. According to the Manonyane insiders, the tension between the club’s management and Thakaso-Maama had been intensified by the fact that Manonyane players recently visited Thakaso at his home in Khubetsoana, Berea, though the details of the said visit were not divulged. Thakaso-Maama has confirmed that there’s such a letter from the Manonyane management to Chief Seeiso Maama, complaining about his interference.
While insisting he hasn’t seen the letter himself, Thakaso-Maama conceded he had heard about it from his reliable sources. He flatly denied the club’s accusations and, instead, said Manonyane players were the ones who came to his home. “Manonyane players (some of them) had asked to have a meeting with me long before, but it was just that I was too busy at the time, and when they approached me again recently they were fortunate that I was free at the time,” said Thakaso-Maama.
“They came to tell me about their personal problems, one of them being that they are starving as individuals.” Thakaso said the players were also complaining that they had to transport themselves to honour the team’s fixtures every weekend. He said they also complained that the team’s playing attire was insufficient for all of them which forced them to exchange items such as playing socks, amongst other things, in the very match as substitutions are made. “They also claim they are not being treated equally at the team. They said there are certain players who are treated in a special way while it is not the same case with others.
“So to someone like myself who had been a sports administrator, especially football, I was indeed very shocked that things like that are happening at the team which I once led as its president.” Thakaso further said: “Apart from that, I was a player myself and I know how it feels when players are starving and when they are not being treated equally.” Despite all these, Thakaso-Maama found it weird that the Manonyane management accused him of interfering in the affairs of the club.
“Even though I don’t know why they are accusing me but I have some clips in which people talk about the same issues and so I will be able to defend myself, especially since the case is not lodged in the courts of law but before the Chief’s court.” Thakaso is not part of today’s meeting which Chief Maama will be chairing. The meeting is between the Chief and the Manonyane management, following the latter’s letter in which they accused Thakaso-Maama of meddling in the affairs of the club.
“But I don’t know how this is going to work because I am not invited to the meeting as the accused.” “I mean, it doesn’t make sense at all that the defendant will not be present when the complainants present their case against him.” Thakaso-Maama said his absence from today’s meeting gave him an opinion that he has already been found guilty, which he said would be just the assassination of his character. Manonyane First Vice President, Mpho Matobo, confirmed today’s meeting with Chief Maama.
Matobo also confirmed that his executive committee wrote to Chief Maama, complaining about Thakaso-Maama’s interference in the affairs of the club. “That is true and Chief Maama has called us to a meeting today at 09:00 am,” said Matobo in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week. “We have a strong case against Mr White-Horse.” Matobo said Thakaso-Maama even told one of the Manonyane executive committee members in his face that he was going to oust them.
He said this was despite having invited Thakaso-Maama to come and work with them before, but he refused. Matobo also said Manonyane players who Thakaso-Maama said came to his house were those who were called for a braai. “Those players were called for a braai at his house. They don’t even know him because he doesn’t even attend our home games. “Those were the (Manonyane) players who are not even raised up in Roma.”
Thakaso-Maama relinquished his position as the Manonyane president in 2009. He told Public Eye a few months ago that he stepped down following a verbal notice by Mohapi (LeFA Secretary General and Manonyane current president). According to Thakaso-Maama, at the time Mohapi claimed that Manonyane risked expulsion from LeFA structures if Thakaso-Maama continued to hold office as the club’s president. This was after Thakaso-Maama was suspended for two years as LeFA’s Public Relations Officer in 2000 for exposing the association’s alleged involvement in players’ age cheating scandal that rocked the national junior teams at the time.
“We told him that we are young and we don’t know his issues with LeFA, and we told him to come and work with us,” Matobo said. Manonyane Vice President further rubbished allegations that their players were starving and also they had to transport themselves to the team’s matches.