MASERU – Lesotho’s elite football league will soon join the league of independent club competitions around the world, as the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) takes steps to secure autonomy. The 16-club league’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Qamako Mahao, has confirmed that they are set to gain autonomy from the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA). This follows re-elected LeFA president Advocate Salemane Phafane’s revelation during the association’s congress a fortnight ago that whenever they were ready the PLMC should seek independence.
Phafane shot down what he labelled as unfounded rumours that the mother body was opposed to PLMC’s autonomy. “There are people who are saying we don’t want the premier league to be autonomous,” said Phafane, “I told them in my first meeting with them that they should consider becoming autonomous.” Phafane further said: “I told them they should say whenever they are ready to be autonomous.”
Mahao confirmed that indeed Phafane told them they should consider becoming autonomous. “It is true. In our first meeting he said we should consider becoming autonomous and we are in that process,” said Mahao in an interview with Public Eye this week. “We are already doing research on our neighbouring countries in order to understand how they started so that we could reflect on our reality at home and decide which things we should start with.”
Mahao further said: “When we approach him we want to go with a perfect proposal.” Mahao also said they would consult with the clubs after they complete their research. “We are even going to consult the teams to say we want to be autonomous and so this is the route to take.” Mahao added: “For you to be autonomous, you must have your own offices and your own staff, meaning you are all by yourself; just like the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL), the Botswana Premier League and others.”
Being autonomous, Mahao said, would give PLMC more credibility, adding that “teams would be able to control their own leagues as well as deciding who should be their administrators.” Mahao said the PLMC would have its board of directors, just like the PSL in South Africa. He said this was bound to be a positive step since those who will be in charge of running the PLMC would have legal powers to sign contracts and agreements with companies sponsoring football unlike now where it is only (LeFA) executive who could sign contracts with such companies on behalf of its local football committees.
“They will have some legal powers to sign contracts and agreements with sponsoring companies unlike now, as we speak, where it is only the executive that can sign contract, like the recent Vodacom sponsorship,” he said. The issue of the PLMC’s autonomy had been the subject to discuss in the past years but the previous administration of the league neither was nor seems to be serious about it.