Lesotho: Freeze, Morena and Tshabalala Are Mere Pawns in Lioli Fights

13 October 2020

A fortnight ago our sister paper, the Sunday Express, carried a story headlined "Lioli infighting continues" where the ousted Lioli interim committee says it is determined to stay in power.

The committee also said it has already started making preparations for the 2020/21 season by "extending" former coach Morena Ramorebodi's contract.

Moses Maliehe, who was the president technical in the ousted interim committee, told the Sunday Express that they were still in the office and had renewed Ramorebodi's contract as head coach.

Maliehe is quoted saying Ramorebodi will be assisted by Freeze Ntene and Motlalepula Mofolo.

"... We have been making our preparations for the next season and this week we completed the signing of Morena as our head coach and have also roped in Freeze as his assistant," Maliehe said.

"We have also included Motlalepula to work with them although he will also be working with our development team."

This is despite that Maliehe's committee was ousted at an elective congress last month.

The Tse Nala leadership has been embroiled internal fights since the voting in of the interim committee in August last year but that is a story for another day.

My focus in this instalment will be on the players, coaches and staff who are bound to be caught in a crossfire as the two factions trade barbs.

The Lebohang Thotanyana-led faction last month also announced signing former Lifofane coach Thomas Tshabalala as the new coach after talks with Ramorebodi hit a snag.

While these two groups are fighting for power, I think all those involved should tread carefully because at the end, some will be left with egg in the face once things do not go as hoped.

Maliehe said they are waiting for their case to be heard by the Berea District Football Association (DIFA's) Disciplinary and Protest Committee (DISPROCO). The ruling will determine the way forward.

There is also a case before the courts against Thotanyana, Chief Semphe Masupha and Hlalele Matobako (Lioli general manager) and it is only after the two cases have been concluded that they will know the way forward.

Last week, Ntene and Soai Mosola were dismissed from the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA's) coaches' refresher course after each of the factions had sent their own. This created problems because each team was expected to send one coach.

I had hoped that this would give Ntene, who was sent to the training by the Maliehe faction, clarity that he is just a pawn in the grand scheme of things.

As things stand, Thotanyana and co are the new Lioli committee and have been going on their business as usual while Maliehe and his allies are fighting from outside.

I think the mere fact that Ntene was dismissed from the LeFA refresher course should have rang a bell to him.

My only worry is this power struggle is not going to only affect the warring parties but careers might also be destroyed.

What is going to happen to the contracts signed by the people from either side should that particular side lose the matter?

Maliehe has made it clear that should they win, all players and officials engaged by the Thotanyana group will not be considered. And that is sad because innocent people are going to suffer.

The situation is even worse for players because they might not be able to get new teams by the time the storm settles.

I don't have any problem with either Ramorebodi, Tshabalala or Ntene joining the team of their choice. However, I also believe it could have been better if they had waited for the two parties to resolve their fight to avoid being caught in the middle of a nasty fight.

Coaches and players shouldn't be involved in administrative issues especially because they don't know what the future holds for them. I believe that the three coaches could have avoided being used as pawns in this fight.

More From: Lesotho Times

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