By Staff Reporter
MASERU — Sports Minister, Thesele ’Maseribane says Lefa President Salemane Phafane should join politics and wait for his turn to become sports minister in order to “make critical decisions about soccer”.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times this week ’Maseribane said he was fed up with Phafane’s claims that he was interfering in the running of soccer in Lesotho.
“You know what? I (Thesele ’Maseribane) am the sports minister of the government of the day and Ntate Phafane should simply make peace with it and await his turn to become sports minister,” ’Maseribane said.
“I advise him to join politics and contest elections for his political party. In 2017 we will be seeking a new mandate to return to office. If his party wins, then he will become sports minister and make his own decisions.”
“My purported interference is merely an accusation by lazy people in Lefa because I am doing my job.
“There’s nothing I won’t do for sports. I cannot shoot myself.
“I always push for things to happen. ”
According to the outspoken ’Maseribane, Phafane should also justify the claims that he (’Maseribane) was interfering with soccer and making his own decisions to the exclusion of other stakeholders.
Phafane, ’Maseribane said, should be the last person to accuse him of interference because he (Phafane) was not interested in boosting Lesotho’s soccer or engaging the minister in any matters regarding the progress being made by Lefa to develop the sport.
“This is the same man who has always been cancelling at the last minute when we have soccer events to attend together, leaving me to do things all by myself,” ’Maseribane said.
“Not so long ago he pulled out on the last minute when he and I were supposed to travel and attend a soccer event together, giving me the excuse that he was not feeling well.”
The sports minister also warned Phafane against making irresponsible public statements about him saying the Lefa president “will not like it when the tables turn”.
“Imagine if I were to visit Fifa to report him on his unbecoming behaviour. It won’t be my credibility at stake but his,” ’Maseribane said.
He claimed that the allegations of interference levelled against him by Phafane were borne out of the fact that the Lefa president was reluctant to keep him up to speed with progress made on the Fifa Goal 3 and 4 Projects in Maputsoe, comprising the construction of two soccer fields.
“Whenever I ask him to take me to the site so that I can be kept up to speed with the progress made and why some areas are stalling so that I can address some of those issues, he doesn’t like it.
“Maybe that’s where the interference comes in,” ’Maseribane said.
“I am told that the project has been halted but nobody has ever briefed me on the reasons.
“Members of the community there have even told me that since the project stopped, people have been stealing bricks.” He added: “Maybe by asking Phafane to take me to the project site to see how far it is, I am interfering. My engagement is seen as interference.”
’Maseribane added that he was not going to run away from his responsibilities as the minister of sports just to appease Phafane and his peers.
He said; “when the king appointed me as minister, he did not give me the mandate to run away when the going gets tough”.
“I was not told to run away when Fifa comes. I was not told to hide when Cosafa comes. I was not told to disappear when Caf comes.
“I am the minister of sport and I am saying it boldly,” ’Maseribane said.
While the Lefa team has been resting on its laurels doing nothing but concocting cheap gossip, ’Maseribane said, he was busy travelling the world sourcing sponsorships and soccer equipment such as complete kits “for marginalised soccer teams across the country to develop themselves and acquire skills”.
“If that is what you call interference, then so be it. If there’s one thing I am doing wrong, maybe it’s focusing on the development of soccer at the expense of other sporting codes. That I can accept. I do admit that I need to refocus,” ’Maseribane said.
Lefa’s technical director, Seephephe “Mochini” Matete, was not spared of ’Maseribane’s wrath either.
Maseribane said the Lefa technical director had no place in the soccer body but was being unruly and ferociously resisting a directive by the sports ministry to return to his office as a civil servant.
“He’s a civil servant on the payroll of the ministry of sports and I have told him to return to his office and that is being misinterpreted,” ’Maseribane said.
“Guess what? Matete has bluntly refused to return to the ministry that employed him despite the director ordering him to come back. He’s defiant but do you see me going out of my way to sue him?”
Recommendations from Fifa handed to Lefa in December 2012 had indicated that the association should advertise the position of Matete as there was no clear football development strategy since he took over the job in 2006.
The report had indicated that he is not computer literate and this was a big handicap for him to perform properly.