MASERU – The public use of a new logo for the local athletics federation has infuriated some administrators who claim they were never consulted in neither the conceptualisation nor commissioning of the insignia – first seeing it on social media.
The unhappy member clubs administrators say they initially saw the logo on Facebook, posted by the new president Tšeliso Pheta.
Berea Athletics secretary general, Thabelo Ranthona, says he once asked about the use of the logo after seeing it for the first time some time last year, but that “even some of the then members of the local athletics mother-body seemed to know nothing about it.”
Ranthona further said: “I saw it on a banner before and I asked the then Public Relations Officer of the federation (Sejanamane Maphathe) who also seemed to know nothing about the logo.”
“I saw it again on a banner on social media on February 16, 2020, and I downloaded it. We really know nothing about that logo as some of the districts athletics members,” said Ranthona in an interview with Public Eye on Monday this week.
“We were surprised when saw it posted in a facebook page belonging to the current athletics president, Tšeliso Pheta.” Ranthona continued that he then saw the logo on t-shirts worn by participants in the federation’s Level 1 Coaching Course in 2019, facilitated by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).
Procedurally, he added, they should have been notified in an officially manner about such changes as members of the federation; instead of seeing the logo for the first time on social media.
“The expectation was that we would be notified about such changes officially as districts athletics officials but that was never the case.” Ranthona further said: “We are surprised with the way the new administration is doing things.”
The Berea secretary said he could only remember an instance when the federation’s committee was mandated to amend the constitution where the issue of the logo was also discussed, “but we said it was imprudent to embark on both projects simultaneously.”
Ranthona again revealed that there has never been an occasion when the members agreed on the changing the name of the body to Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) as it appears on the new logo, saying instead “it was agreed that the new name of the association should be the Lesotho Athletics Federation (LAF).”
Maseru Athletics Academy Secretary General, Neo Ramarou, shares similar sentiments to Ranthona’s, who says “as Maseru we have never received any invitation or heard an announcement regarding the change of the logo.” “I think we will get an explanation to what exactly happened.”
On their part, Mokhotlong clubs’ secretary general, Lineo Mokoatle, told this publication that “we know nothing about that logo except having seen it on social media, on a Facebook page run by Pheta. We are, therefore, very surprised.”
Mokoatle said this was obviously a sign that there’re problems in the local athletics administration. The Mafeteng athletics association similarly feels wronged, with president Tlotliso Ntai saying procedurally the issue of the logo should be decided by members at a conference.
“It was agreed in the beginning that three logos be designed for members to be able to decide at a conference which one would be adopted by the federation,” said Ntai. “But what surprised me was to see the logo on social media while as members of the federation know nothing about it.”
Ntai said he was part of the athletics officials who attended the level 1 coaching course in the previous year, and that this is where he saw the logo for the first time as it was printed on their t-shirts. “I first saw it then as it was printed on my t-shirt and we were all surprised,” Ntai said. The federation’s secretary general, Makara Thibinyane, has confirmed the existence of the controversial logo, but adds that “the issue of the logo is not new, as it has been used before.” Adding that “we had the Level 1 coaching course and this same logo was used.”
He said, however, that the logo will be up for official use immediately after registering their new constitution with the Law Office.
On the change of name from the LAF to the FAL, Thibinyane said they had a challenge with the Law Office when it came to the former (LAF) resulting in agreeing on the change to FAL.
“Sports associations are no longer allowed to use names that start with ‘Lesotho’ and as result we had a challenge with registering LAF…that’s the situation at the Law Office as we speak.” The local athletics mother-body was previously known as the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA).