Premier league teams cry foul

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MASERU — Premier league clubs that fail to comply with the new licensing system to be introduced in the new season will be docked points, according to Lefa facilities and administration manager Mokhosi Mohapi.
The new licensing system, which will also include 20 lower division teams, is meant to professionalise local football by requiring that all clubs have contracts with players.
Under the new rules, all 12 premier league clubs will also be expected to have physical offices as well as an office administrator or manager.
Mohapi said all premier league clubs and lower division teams are expected to apply for the licenses before they can be registered for the new season.
“The registration technically began on June 15 but one needs to understand that there are two registrations — for players and the license application (for clubs),” Mohapi said.
He said clubs that fail to meet the new requirements will be docked points.
“What will end up happening is that if such teams fail to meet the standards, Lefa will be forced to deduct points from them. This might end up resulting in those teams being relegated after points deduction,” Mohapi said.
Under the new rules all clubs must be affiliated to their respective District Football Associations.
“Their (clubs) applications will be scrutinised by our technical team based on their coaches’ recommendations and their financial statements. The teams can only get the licenses if recommendations from all departments are positive.”
But club representatives who spoke to the Lesotho Times this week said they are likely to fail to meet the stringent licensing requirements ahead of the new season which begins in August.
Likhopo FC manager Bishop Molatoli said on Tuesday his team was unlikely to qualify for the new club licensing system. He said it was too early for Lefa to implement the new system because most teams were still struggling to secure sponsorship.
“Likhopo has not started the registration process as we speak. We are still preparing for the registration,” Molatoli said.
“Truly speaking this is not going to help us in any way in the development of football because without sponsorship in this country, most teams are dead.”
He added: “Without sponsorship in this country teams are dead. Turning professional without them (sponsors) is a mission impossible. We do not have money to rent office space, pay office administrator, buy equipment as well as pay players.”
Molatoli said while the licensing system was a good development it can only work when all clubs are in a better financial position to “afford these things”.
“Right now, we are seeing only a very big problem in front of us,” he said.
Lioli public relations officer, Moeketsi Pitso, said the new licensing requirements would be a burden on them financially.
“Where are we going to get the money to do all of these things when we know very well that teams are still struggling even to transport players?” Pitso said.
He said most premier league teams are still being run on shoe-string budgets.
The only dissenting voice came from LDF public relations officer Dony Nthakha.
He said his club did not have any problems with the new licensing system apart from the fact that the league season would now be shorter.
“We do not have a problem with the new changes,” Nthakha said.
LDF is one of the three state-sponsored premier league teams. The other two are Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).
Lefa communication and information officer, Mikea Kalati, also defended the new licensing system.
“Most teams are happy with these new developments and have already invited Ntate Mohapi to help them understand the club licensing system,” Kalati said on Tuesday.
On the issue of financial burden Kalati said it would be in the clubs’ interest to start looking for ways to raise money for their sustenance.
“There are certain issues where the association will meet the teams half-way and one of them is to help them (teams) source sponsorship,” Kalati said.
“The teams must rise (to the occasion) and be wise enough to find ways of making money..”
He said the requirement to enforce the issue of contracts will help stop the practice of firing coaches willy-nilly.

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