As a new turf war erupts at the Roma-based camp
MASERU – Roma-based Manonyane FC want banished former president, Mohau “White Horse’ Thakaso, to reclaim his position at the helm of the premier league rookies. Thakaso relinquished his position as the club president in 2009, following a verbal notice by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Secretary General, Mokhosi Mohapi, who is also the incumbent club president.
According to information received by this paper Mohapi claimed at the time that Manonyane risked expulsion from the football governing body’s structures if Thakaso continued to hold office as the club’s president.
But, according to some of Manonyane supporters and former executive committee members of the club, and Thakaso himself, Mohapi only promised to deliver a letter of suspension he was talking about from that time but hasn’t done so until today, 12 years down the line.
Thakaso was suspended for two years as LeFA’s Public Relations Officer in 2000 for exposing the association’s alleged involvement in a players’ age cheating corruption in a scandal that rocked the junior national teams at the time.
LeFA administration was under the leadership of the late Thabo Makakole at the time, with the association accusing Thakaso of bringing the football body into disrepute, among other things. Thakaso’s suspension was, as a result, supposed to have ended in 2002.
But Mohapi denies ever saying Thakaso was suspended. “I know nothing about what you are saying, and I choose not to comment on that,” said Mohapi in an interview with Public Eye on Monday. “I meet him every day and I have never heard him saying something like that.” Mohapi further said he was not even aware that club supporters wanted Thakaso back.
“I really don’t know that. But if he wants to come back to the team he should write a letter to the Manonyane members, explaining that.” But speaking in a separate interview one Manonyane diehard supporter, Makhesela Tlapana, said he was among the people who were present when Mohapi said Thakaso remained suspended from the club.
“I was there when he said so, but until today we have never received any suspension letter making Mohau ‘White Horse’ Thakaso’s said suspension official,” said Tlapana on Monday this week. Tlapana is also one of the Manonyane supporters who want Thakaso back. By right, he added, “Thakaso is still the president of Manonyane since Mohapi has until today failed to prove that he was indeed suspended.”
Tlapana claimed that “obviously there was a plan by Mohapi and his people to get rid of Thakaso so that they could take over the control of the club.” “By right, White Horse is still the president of Manonyane because he was the last elected to lead the club; Mohapi has never been elected as the president of Manonyane.
“If he was ever elected as president, then it was done in a very secretive meeting.” Tlapana said they were currently busy lobbying supporters who have the interests of the team to register and obtain club membership so that they are eligible to vote when the executive committee elections are held.
“The supporters are tired and disillusioned by the current administration which has failed to direct the team to become a well organised side and now people want the chief (Principal Chief of Ha Maama, Chief Seeiso Maama) to call a public gathering where Thakaso will be ordered to take over his team.”
Tlapana said the plan was for the chief to call the public gathering once the current 2020/21 premier league season comes to an end. He said even if they were to have an executive committee election tomorrow, Thakaso would still win the presidency by a wide margin. Further inquiries by the publication suggest that Thakaso was actually asked to step aside by Manonyane supporters for the benefit of the club immediately after Mohapi’s warning.
But the supporters now say Mohapi’s claim was not truthful, leading to their current decision to have Thakaso reinstated or for the club to head to an elective conference. One Manonyane ex-executive member, Captain Mokoma, also confirmed that the club’s followers want Thakaso back.
Mokoma indicated, however, that the problem now is that the current executive committee does not hold meetings since there are divisions and disagreements administrative issues. “The solution would be for the committee to call a meeting but its members wouldn’t want to sit because they don’t agree on certain administrative issues.
“If you ask any of them about any administrative issue in the club they will tell you they know nothing, and that it is Mohapi who should know.” Mokoma further said: “There’s no Vice President, and Mohapi is doing everything.” However, Mokoma said if the status quo remained they will have no other option but to involve the Principal Chief of Ha Maama on the matter.
“Manonyane are a community team, as a result they are under the responsibility of the chief. So if there is a problem we will ask the Principal Chief to call them to a meeting.” Mokoma further claimed that there’s also a rumour that Manonyane has since been registered as a company and that people who are currently in the leadership of the club have 70 percent shares.
“There’s a rumour that they have registered the club as a company and that they have 70 percent shares. Some have seen that contract which shows that the club has been registered as a company while some of us have only heard it from the rumour mill.”
Mohapi denied these claims in interview with this reporter. Mokoma further said: “That’s why we want to have a general meeting so that they can explain to us what is exactly happening; whether we support the team or we support them.”
Mokoma could also recall Thakaso’s suspension by LeFA, saying he remembered very well because at the time he was a member of Manonyane’s executive committee member.
Approached to react to this call by his home team supporters Thakaso told Public Eye that he has also heard the news that people demanded that he should return to the club and serve as president again.
“It is true that people want me back and, yes, for the benefit of my people and the Manonyane community I accept their request,” said Thakaso. He, however, said he was not as yet sure on how to proceed because “there is still talk that I am under suspension.”
“I was suspended between 2000 and 2002 for making public corruption and age cheating tendencies at LeFA. That’s basically why I was suspended.” Thakaso said his suspension came to an end in 2002 but to his surprise, LeFA said he remained suspended.
Thakaso further confirmed to this reporter that in 2009 Mohapi maintained that he was still suspended, which forced him to step down as the club’s president. Mohapi denies it, maintaining though that “if Thakaso indeed wanted to come back to the club he should instead have done so in writing.”