Matlama face tough sanctions

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MASERU — Matlama FC face stiff sanctions after their fans went on the rampage following a 2-0 loss to Bantu at Central Prison Ground on Sunday.

Trouble started after Bantu’s Lekhanya Lekhanya scored the visitors’ second goal just 10 minutes before the final whistle in the Vodacom Premier League match.

The goal is said to have triggered the hurling of missiles by Matlama fans towards Bantu supporters.

Speaking to the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, the premier league’s communications and marketing manager, Lehlohonolo Matlosa, said Matlama faced sanctions.

He said the team could face three counts of misconduct.

“We are going to look at the match officials’ and commissioner’s reports,” Matlosa said.

“There are about three counts (of misconduct) that Matlama could be charged with.”

Matlosa added: “There was throwing of missiles by Matlama fans and Bantu supporters retaliated.”

Although the visiting supporters from Mafeteng were quickly restrained by their officials the unrest continued until the final whistle.

The encounter had been billed as a league humdinger clash and fans from both sides came out in full force to lend their support.

But that was soured by violence in the second half of the game.

Fan trouble has always marred football in Lesotho owing to unsecured and sub-standard pitches.

This is the second time that Matlama have been involved in fan unrest.

They were infamously part of the violence with Lioli in January last year at Pitso Ground.

Matlosa said that would also have an impact on the sentencing.

He added that Matlama could be forced to play their games behind closed doors.

“It’s one of the options. We will have to sit down and go through the match reports. There is a precedence. The game was very well attended and it is disappointing that crowd trouble had to mar what was otherwise a good tie,” Matlosa said.

Matlama will most likely find out what charges they are facing today.

Matlama communications and marketing manager, Lesolle Phalatsi, said the incident was unfortunate.

“It’s a very unfortunate mishap that ended up with the throwing of cans and stones between Matlama and Bantu supporters,” Phalatsi said.

“I don’t want to pour fuel on the situation by apportioning blame on anyone at this moment,” he said.

Phalatsi said security was adequate at the match that was attended by top Tse Putsoa officials.

He however disagreed that Matlama were disorderly.

“I can’t go that far to say our fans were unruly,” he said. “What I can say is that when emotions are running high any provocation can spark a big thing.

“It was quelled very quickly, Matlama fans are always controllable,” Phalatsi said.

The incident was nevertheless another down point in what has been a slow start to the season for Tse Putsoa.

The defeat was their second this season.

This weekend they make the daunting long trip to Khukhune to face Maduma who disposed of Linare 2-0 last time out.

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