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Fans hand petition to Thabane

Mikia Kalati

MASERU — Football supporters on Friday handed a petition to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane asking him to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate problems in local football.
The supporters want the commission to investigate corruption and match-fixing within the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa).
A copy of the petition was also handed to Sports Minister Thesele Maseribane.
Reading the petition to the Prime Minister on Friday, former Lesotho international striker, Teele Ntšonyana, said they are concerned with the poor administration of football in the country and the alleged match-fixing scandals that involve the country’s football governing body.
“We as the concerned football supporters feel that Lefa is being mismanaged and it is in my interest and that of the football community in Lesotho that we call on the leadership of this country to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate these corruption allegations against the football governing body,” Ntšonyana said.
He said the fact that the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) had contact with convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal just days before the Lesotho national team’s allegedly rigged friendly match against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on September 11, 2009 raises serious questions about the management of the local game.
“With the present management of Lefa, the standards of football have gone from bad to worse and we are asking the Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Sports, Ntate Thesele Maseribane, to look into these matters.
“The welfare of the players has not been taken seriously and the association has failed to retain sponsorships and relate professionally with them,” he said.
Ntšonyana is among 13 suspended football administrators who dragged Lefa to court earlier this year.
The administrators filed court papers in February demanding the nullification of last December’s Lefa national executive elections.
The retired former Lesotho international, who also had a stint with South African side Wits University, said last December’s elections that saw the election of a new committee were marred by serious irregularities.
“Sponsors and the corporate sector are showing no interest in football because there is no stability within the leadership of the game,” said Ntšonyana.
Prime Minister Thabane applauded the supporters for showing their dissatisfaction in a peaceful manner.
“You did the right thing by showing your concerns in this manner, I promise that I and the government will look into this matter to try and find a solution,” he said.
Last year supporters petitioned the football governing body demanding that the executive resigns following Likuena’s 0-7 thrashing at the hands of Ghana.
This was after the team had arrived in Kumasi less than six hours before kick-off after the team was stuck at the OR Tambo International Airport due to visa problems.

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