Attempt blackout on association’s presser
MASERU – The executive committee of renegade Sports Reporters Association of Lesotho (SRAL) this week called on its membership to boycott a Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) press conference. The move was meant to be a protest after the football body snubbed the scribes at its congress a week ago. SRAL is a breakaway association from the Lesotho Sports Reporters Association (LSRA) that has on several occasions been found on a collision course with LeFA.
On September 11 several sports reporters were denied entry into LeFA’s 16th congress that was held in Maseru at the Mojalefa Lephole Hall. While the association had accredited six sports reporters to cover the event, only five attended. SRAL president, Retšelisitsoe Makara, has since told this publication in an interview that they made the call “protesting the treatment of our members by the football association.”
He indicated, however, that they were mindful that sports journalists are managed by their respective media houses, who could direct them differently. “But we requested them to boycott the LeFA press conference. We were not ordering them to, but only strongly highlighting the fact that we are bound to work as a unit because our failure at joint efforts could lead to us failing to protect them if incidents such as the LeFA congress muddle occur.
“We have seen cases where some sports reporters disregarded such calls, yet when they encountered problems at their workplaces, lost their jobs or their rights were being violated, they wanted us to intervene. “We are fighting for unity… an injury to one is an injury to all,” said Makara. Speaking at the press conference planned for the boycott held at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, LeFA Secretary General, Mokhosi Mohapi, said they were forced to accommodate only a small number of sports reporters at the congress because of requirements set by the managers of the facility that hosted them.
He said they “were not allowed to exceed a specific number of hall capacity.” Mohapi further pointed out that even the COSAFA delegation could not attend the congress but participated virtually because they understood that LeFA had limited hall capacity. “There was a suggestion that we cut some of the delegates to the congress to accommodate the sports reporters, which was impossible because the reports we submit during the congress are meant for them. Again, we had to turn back some of our invitees to accommodate the media,” Mohapi continued.