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Fears over Matlama readiness

Teboho Molapo

MASERU — The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) this week registered league champions Matlama for next year’s edition of the African Champions League to become the country’s first representative in the lucrative tournament in three years.

But instead of elation there are now concerns about Matlama’s readiness to compete with the continent’s finest football teams.

That fact that all is not well in Matlama has not helped matters.

Over recent months the champions have hogged the headlines for all the wrong reasons, from firing coaches to squabbling over gate-takings to disputes with players.

There are areas where the club’s board can be defended though.

For example, Matlama’s noble plans to improve their home, Pitso Ground, have been overlooked in recent weeks.

Tse Putsoa are one of the few local sides that have embraced the need to develop their facilities, and the effort and resources Matlama have put into improving Pitso Ground should be commended.

The club’s partnership with Alliance Insurance is growing.

Last year when Tse Putsoa were crowned champions of the M360 000 Vodacom Soccer Spectacular Matlama players on average were each rewarded with M4 500.

In comparison, Likhopo’s players each received roughly M2 500 after the club won the same competition earlier this month.

Nonetheless there appears to be growing organisational problems inside Matlama that have disrupted the club.

The way the club committee has handled issues has not improved matters.

A greater problem is the lines of communication and concord within the club’s committee that have indirectly resulted in the problems with the first team.

The committee came into power in February this year with Ikhetheleng Matabane as president and Boleotsi Senti has his deputy.

The problem however is that Matabane is based in South Africa and that makes communication a huge challenge.

The management of finances has also become a problem.

Earlier this month, Matlama spokesman Lesolle Phalatsi said the club would conduct an audit.

“(People) know the losses the club incur on a day-to-day basis but they choose to ignore this,” he said.

“When I checked recently roughly our income was M490 000, but we spent over M500 000.

“We have to get an auditor and next year in February our report will be there for all to see.”

It is hard to argue with the financial hardships in Lesotho football.

But issues such as these should have been communicated to players.

The current committee is still young into its mandate.

Their plan is to have Matlama as a self-sustaining club in two years time.

But because of their inability to strategise and communicate properly they have allowed the situation to get out of hand.

Matlama’s authorities and players need to work together.

The committee needs to be more transparent in its dealings.

Matlama immediate focus is on the Vodacom Premier League game with Joy this afternoon.

But without Nkau Lerotholi, Pali Tšalong, Lehlohonolo Mokhele, Liteboho Mokhesi and the disgruntled duo of Dlhomo Monapathi and Thapelo Mokhehle and with the current divisions then Matlama have no hope in the Champions League next year.

With a weakened side like they have now Matlama will be mauled in the Caf tournament.

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