Koetle’s fate hangs in the balance

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. . .  as midfielder faces disciplinary hearing over doping test

Moorosi Tsiane

LIOLI and Likuena midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle’s career hangs in the balance after he was accused of refusing to undergo a drug test in October this year.

The fate of the 25-year old’s career will be decided on 4 January 2017 in a disciplinary hearing to be convened by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) in its capacity as the local National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO).

NADOs are responsible for testing national athletes in- and out-of-competition, as well as athletes from other countries competing within that nation’s borders.

The LNOC was given that mandate by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Sources told this publication that Koetle was approached by a NADO official for a random drug test while training at Setsoto Stadium ahead of a 20 October 2017 Lioli tie in the Econet Premier League.

The midfielder allegedly suggested that the test be conducted at his home. And when the NADO official visited Koetle at his home for the test, the latter allegedly refused.

The sources said the doping control officer was surprised by Koetle’s alleged refusal to cooperate and reported the matter to NADO, prompting the disciplinary hearing.

However, Lioli president, Lebohang Thotanyana, has disputed that account, saying Koetle merely wanted clarification from the doping control officer on what he was doing.

“I don’t want to say too much on this issue because we are going for the hearing next week. I also don’t want to jeopardize the case,” Thotanyana said.

“What I can tell you is that he didn’t really refuse to take the test. He wanted clarity from the person who was testing him because he was not knowledgeable about the process. He also requested to be allowed to call me and that was when everything changed.”

The Lioli boss said he suspected a “personal agenda” against Lioli and the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA).

“We might be wrong, but now it looks like there is a personal agenda against us as Lioli and LeFA from whoever who is doing all these things,” said Thotanyana, who was once LeFA second vice-president.

“I don’t really have any problem with my players being tested. Koetle can be tested at any time, but one would have thought that the first step would have been education, because you can’t just come and start testing people who don’t know about such things. So, we are learning the hard way, unfortunately.”

LNOC chief executive officer, Morake Raleaka, declined to comment, when asked to comment on the matter, saying it was an internal issue that could not be divulged to anyone until a verdict had been made.

“I am sorry, but I will not be able to help you as this is an internal matter that should not be in the public domain. Doing so would be in contravention of World Anti-Doping Agency rules,” Raleaka said.

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