Bid to end league season

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – The Lesotho Premier League clubs have made a recommendation to end the 2020/21 football season. This has been confirmed by the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC)’s Communications and Marketing Manager (CMM), Qamako Mahao. Mahao said the recommendation has since been brought before the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) to make a final decision.

LeFA’ Secretary General, Mokhosi Mohapi, also confirmed that the association has indeed received the recommendation. “Yes, they have made the recommendation but it can’t be processed now because we have to wait for other leagues to make their recommendations altogether,” said Mohapi in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week. Mohapi said LeFA runs five national leagues above and beyond the elite league.

“Remember that LeFA runs about five leagues and the premier league is just one among those fives leagues,” he said. If LeFA approves the recommendation by the premier league clubs to end the season prematurely, this will be the second time in a row that this happens after the 2019/20 season was ended in the same fashion.

While Mohapi said recommendations by the premier league clubs could not be processed until other leagues have also made their recommendations Mahao, on the other hand, said the present moment is the right time to start preparations for a new football season. “We are definitely going to start a new season, with the recommendations by the teams that the current season be ended prematurely,” Mahao said. “In fact, this is the right time to get back so that the we can prepare registrations for us to start a new season on time.” Mahao said they were just waiting for LeFA’s executive to approve their recommendations.

The PLMC CMM further reiterated: “In fact, the premier league teams took the position that the league be ended as it is, but that will affect other leagues and those leagues are controlled by the association and not the PLMC. “This is the reason we have made recommendations to the association for then to decide what should happen with the promotion and relegation issues.”

The Vodacom Premier League, as well as the lower division leagues and all contact sports activities have been suspended indefinitely due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the second time this year that sports activities have been suspended indefinitely because of Covid-19. This is the same reason which forced the 2019/20 domestic football season to be ended prematurely.

Last season the top-flight league, then the Econet Premier League, ended with just eight league matches remaining on average but the current Vodacom Premier League was just beginning with its second round when sports were suspended in July this year. Bantu, who were the log-leaders when the 2019/20 season ended, were declared champions and went on to represent Lesotho at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.

This was while none of the premier league teams were relegated but two A-Division log-leaders were promoted to the top-flight league. That saw Matlama, who were sitting on second position on the then 14-team Econet Premier League log table, challenge the decision by LeFA and the PLMC to award Bantu the league title.

But Matlama lost the case with the Disciplinary Protests Committee (DISPROCO), the Appeal Court and with the Arbitration Tribunal, respectively.   Now Matlama, who are now on pole position on the 16-team Vodacom Premier League log table, were the first club to propose that the league be ended pre-maturely like what was done during the last season.

However, even if LeFA would approve the recommendations that the top-flight league be ended Matlama, as current log-leaders, will not represent Lesotho at the CAF Champions League since LeFA and the PLMC have not registered any local team for the competition. The decision was taken in light of the fact that the 2020/21 was already behind schedule as far as the international football calendar is concerned and with the extended deadline for registration closed two days ago, September 15.

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