Lesotho: Premier League Teams Cry Foul

20 January 2020

ECONET Premier League teams have accused the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) of failing to release the fixture timely.

Three teams namely Lifofane, LCS and Bantu accuse the PLMC of failing to provide the fixture for outstanding matches on time. They say the fixture was only released after the teams had already closed for the Christmas break thereby scuttling their preparations.

The three sides will all be in action next weekend. Lifofane hosts Lioli in Butha-Buthe, Bantu visits Kick4Life in the first of two matches that will also feature LCS against Matlama at LCS Ground.

Lifofane coach Bafokeng Mohapi told the Lesotho Times this week that they will be opening on Monday to prepare for the Lioli tie.

Mohapi said they had already anticipated this situation considering how PLMC has been operating.

"When we closed, we were unaware when we would play our catch-up matches. We also did not know when the second round of matches would commence but we had anticipated that an abrupt announcement would be made because we have been watching how the PLMC has been operating this season," Mohapi said.

"It is bad that we break for two weeks and in the first week of returning into camp, the players are expected to play a competitive match. We are resuming our training next week but we so much wish that the matches had been scheduled for 18 January instead of earlier.

"However, since the schedule is already out, we will play. If the PLMC thought it was the best, then there is nothing we can do."

Lifofane have enjoyed a fair first round and ended the year in fifth with 18 points from 11 matches.

LCS mentor Mpitsa Marai echoed Mohapi's sentiments saying it was important for coaches to get the fixture timeously to enable them to plan.

Marai said they started training on Monday to prepare for their catch-up matches.

"It is crucial for us to get the fixture in time because our planning depends on it. We should get it at least before closing for the Christmas break so that we know when we are supposed to open. That is supposed to be informed by the fixture but now we got it when we had closed and had to recall our players.

"These are some of the factors that affect a team's performances. If we knew the dates on time, it would be easier to plan. And if we plan on assumptions, this causes problems. We have told the people responsible for the fixture in multiple meetings but it is disappointing that nothing has changed.

"This is a serious inconvenience and we just wish those in authority act accordingly to resolve these issues. We were expecting the games would start on 18 January 2020 and then we had no choice but to recall the players," Marai said.

Bantu coach Bob Mafoso said the lack of information disrupts the players' planning.

"If you know when you are opening before you close, it would be easier for the players to plan their holidays. Now their time with their families has been disrupted, especially a team like ours that has players from different parts of the continent.

"We had no choice but to re-call them and we are starting with the preparations on Friday (today)," Mafoso said.

He said this also puts coaches on course for failure.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail, so goes an old saying. This is exactly what is happening now. We cannot continue going on like this," Mafoso said.

Contacted for comment PLMC spokesperson Moeketsi Ramakatsa refuted claims that they released the fixture late. Instead, he said the teams were to blame as they did not check their emails on time.

"This fixture was sent to the teams even before the last matches on 23 December. The teams are to blame because they do not check their emails hence, they often fail to get important notices on time.

"In this case we even followed up with phone calls alerting the teams that the fixture was out. So bad is the situation in the teams' communication that sometimes the presidents' request that the emails be sent to their personal mails," Ramakatsa said.

Meanwhile, Bantu general manager Poosela Pule said they received the fixture on 23 December 2019, two days after their closure.

"I only got the fixture on 23 December 2019, two days after the players had already been released for Christmas holidays," Pule told Lesotho Times.

LCS secretary Lehlohonolo Matlosa also dismissed Ramakatsi's claims saying he only received the email from the PLMC on late 24 December 2019.

"That fixture got to us very late and our players had already been released for their holidays. We received it on the 24th of December," Matlosa added.

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