Lesotho Times

Letete defends legacy

MASERU — Premier League chairman Tlholo Letete is not seeking re-election in polls to select new office holders for the league.
This is because Letete’s club, Mphatlalatsane, were relegated from the top tier last season.
The Premier League is also set to select a new chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, vice-secretary and treasurer at elections that were postponed indefinitely last Sunday.
In this exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times Letete discusses allegations made by some league teams that he is trying to manoeuvre a way to stay in power by delaying elections.
Letete, who is also Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) vice-president, also discusses his legacy after seven years at the helm of the league.
Lesotho Times (LT): Your impending departure has sparked controversy.
Some people say you are delaying the process and trying to find a way to stay on as chairman. Others are of the opinion that your departure before the end of your term constitutes inconsistency; if a committee member’s team is relegated they have to leave the committee meaning they can’t fulfil their mandate . . .
Letete: That is utter nonsense, why would I delay the election? I have no reason to do so. Those who are saying that forget that I was pushing for an amendment to the Lefa constitution that the premier league chairman should be a third vice-president of the association.
That automatically meant that I would have to step down in order for the position of third vice-president to be filled. People are missing the bigger picture. It (continuity) shouldn’t be an issue.
It’s not about individuals or about positions; it’s about moving our football forward. If we were saying it was all the teams that are getting relegated then it would be a problem.
The Mohale Declaration has been agreed to and it just has to be followed, regardless of who is in charge.
LT: What is the premier league management committee’s role in relation to the Chairman’s Forum?
Letete: The management committee is responsible for the day-to-day running of the premier league. We established the Chairman’s Forum to oversee the strategic issues regarding the development of the league as well as being the watchdog of the league, to make sure all statutes are completed. The Chairman’s Forum is our way to oversee the workings of the premier league.
LT: Can you say the Chairman’s Forum has done its job so far?
Letete: Last season the job was not satisfactory as we were not able to meet all of our targets.
LT: Why was that?
Letete: It’s related to understanding a lot; we still don’t understand the role and importance of the Chairman’s Forum. We were also dealing with a lot of administrative issues this past season and it took most of our time. We have made recommendations about the Chairman’s Forum to ensure its recommendations are discussed.
LT: Some chairmen and team presidents are being touted as potential successors to you. You have said that you wouldn’t advise it. Why is that?
Letete: In terms of developing the game I do not recommend it. The chairmen of clubs should be giving the league direction and guiding it. This is under the assumption that the chairmen of the clubs are the most forward-looking people in their teams and the forum has already been established.
LT: What have you achieved during your seven-year term as chairman of the premier league?
Letete: When I took over teams watched themselves, spectators sat on the substitutes’ bench. Through new regulations and other mechanisms we were able to change the whole league. We were able to brand the league and improve sponsorship and interest.
LT: Has there been improvement off the field as well?
Letete: When we started teams registered 50 players. We have managed to change and now teams have to register a maximum of 30 players. The process is ongoing. Institution teams were able to poach players from community teams for free after giving them jobs. We were able to protect the movement of players, now clubs receive compensation if a player leaves.
Through my leadership we were able to create a revolving fund for the premier league. Although it is not growing the fund is there for the clubs to borrow from and fix their grounds. We didn’t have a seat in the Lefa executive committee but now we have two.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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