Lefa: respect our autonomy

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THE following is a statement by the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) responding to statements made members of parliament and political youth leagues calling on the government to stop funding the association:

 

The Lesotho Football Association is greatly stunned and aptly startled by the comments made by the Honourable Members of Parliament Sello Maphalla and Libe Moremoholo both in the National Parliament and in the Lesotho Times of Thursday 1st — 7th April 2010 and Sunday Express of Sunday 3rd April 2010.

In his comments, Honourable Maphalla calls for the government of Lesotho to put an end to the annual government subvention of M1 000 000 that the Lesotho Football Association gets. 

This comment comes against the resolution that the national executive committee of the Lesotho Football Association had last year taken a decision not to register the senior national team — Likuena — in the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

The same comments were echoed by the president of the All Basotho Convention youth league Libe Moremoholo in the Sunday Express of Sunday 3rd April 2010 and also in the Mohale edition of Thursday 8 April. 

Moremoholo went further to say that as soon as Parliament reopens on April 16 he would seek to influence the social cluster to compel the Honourable Minister of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation to summon the Lesotho Football Association’s executive committee to Parliament to explain the debacle.

In the Sunday Express, Tsepo Monethi, the youth leader of the Basotho National Party alludes that the Lesotho Football Association does not have a mandate to enrol the senior national team out of the Nations Cup qualifiers. 

He further contradicts himself in the same paper by saying “Their mandate is to manage our national teams and enter them in international competitions.”

The Lesotho Football Association wishes to state the following:

With regards to the comment by Honourable Maphalla regarding the government subvention that the government of Lesotho gives to the Lesotho Football Association, the association is astonished by a Member of Parliament who has the aspirations of one day becoming part of government who talks against the funding of sports entities in the Kingdom. 

We wonder whether his party subscribes to this opinion or not. 

We fear that should his party become government, his government will see the death of sport.

We wonder whether Hon Maphalla is aware of the contents of the founding documents of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission. 

We hope the Honourable Member is not attempting to raise a motion against the formation of the Sport and Recreation Commission which was formed by way of an Act of Parliament. 

If this is the case, then Honourable Maphalla should wake up to the fact that the Lesotho Football Association is not a political party nor is it affiliated to any political party in the Kingdom of Lesotho and does not intend to do so as guided by the statutes of the Federation of International Football Associations.

As a result, it is improper and politically unethical to use the Lesotho Football Association as a means to address and score political points.

It should be understood by the two honourable members of Parliament as well as the youth leader of the Basotho National Party that the Lesotho Football Association is an autonomous organisation and that its autonomy should be respected.

It is clear that the three members who commented did not research before making their remarks. 

The Lesotho Football Association kindly wishes to refer them to Articles 13 and 17 of the Fifa Statutes.

Perhaps after having read the statutes they will be in a position to make informed comments.

As the Lesotho Football Association, we wonder whether what the Honourable Members are suggesting will not amount to interference as stipulated in the Fifa Statutes and whether the aforementioned members are willing to risk the suspension that will follow. 

We also wonder whether the Honourable Members will be able to answer to the football fraternity should the country be suspended.

Their lack of understanding even after the Honourable Minister of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation responded to the motion as moved by Honourable Maphalla leaves a big question as to the calibre of some of the country’s leaders and to a great extent the members who purport to be the next government. 

We would want to forgive the Basotho National Party youth leader for the manner in which he contradicts himself in public. 

The National Executive Committee of the Lesotho Football Association is a democratically elected body. 

We would like to inform him that in August 2008, eight members of the national executive committee were democratically elected by the Lesotho Football Association’s Congress which consisted of 53 members and in August 2009, the Lesotho Football Association elected its president. 

The mandate that was given to the National Executive Committee was clear: to manage Lesotho Football Association’s affairs and report back to congress in two years’ time.

Therefore the comment that there was no mandate is a fallacy.

The BNP youth leader then corrects himself by saying: “Their mandate is to manage our national teams and enter them in international competitions.”  

One other thing that Monethi should understand is that leaders are elected to make decisions associated with their organisations and in this regard the national executive committee of the Lesotho Football Association did just that.

It is amazing that some of the local journalists have forgotten that in many of their articles they were suggesting that the senior national team be disbanded due to what they referred to as the team’s lacklustre performance in international competitions.

Today such people are acting ignorantly from their snivels. 

For the record, the president of the Lesotho Football Association mentioned at a press conference held at the association’s headquarters that the time had come to rebuild the senior national team. 

It is surprising then that even when the attempt to rekindle Lesotho’s pride is being undertaken some people whom one would expect will  applaud such a move are actually the front runners in such anti-national conduct. 

Do these people care about the country’s pride?

Are these people worthy of being within our political circles as leaders? 

We are wondering what Lesotho’s future will be with the calibre of leaders we have.

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