MASERU — Maduma have finally been promoted to the Vodacom Premier League.
Or have they?
It seems the promotion circus has another round to go.
With their 8-2 thrashing of Butha-Buthe Fast XI in their replay on Thursday, Maduma thought they had won the A-Division Northern Stream and a ticket to the elite league.
But then, their nemesis, Mpharane Celtics, have lodged another appeal.
Celtics were supposed to face Lifefo in another replay on the same day but the latter did not turn up.
This means even if Celtics were given the match on the standard 3-0 score-line they cannot better Maduma’s goal difference.
The battle for the top spot in the stream has been running since March 21 when Celtics complained Maduma had enjoyed an unfair advantage on the last day of the season.
Maduma had thrashed Fast XI 7-1 while Celtics had dismissed Lifefo 5-1.
This meant Maduma had won the league thanks to a better goal difference.
But Celtics complained that Maduma had enjoyed an unfair advantage — knowing the score-line of their title rivals — because their match against Fast XI had started 30 minutes late.
The A-Division’s disciplinary and protests committee initially punished Maduma for causing the delay of the match by docking them three points.
And at that stage, Celtics thought they had secured the Premier League berth.
A series of appeals and counter-appeals however ensued, resulting in both teams being ordered to replay their disputed matches.
Thus on Thursday Maduma came out with their guns blazing in Hlotse, walloping Fast XI 8-2.
But Maduma did not have the chance to rout their opponents, if they could, because Lifefo did not turn up.
Maduma have, predictably, lodged another complain with the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa).
The A-Division management committee’s secretary, ‘Mifi Nteso, yesterday said he was unsure what would happen.
“To the league Maduma have been promoted but we don’t know what Lefa will say,” Nteso told the Sunday Express.
“We have received information that Mpharane Celtics have written to the office of the Lefa chief executive officer to appeal.”
Celtics are arguing that the replays had not started at the same time as ordered, insinuating that Maduma could have enjoyed an “unfair advantage” once again.
“Our standpoint is that arbitration ordered us to arrange the replays,” Nteso said.
“The regulations say the referee must wait for 30 minutes if a team is late.
“If that time period lapses he has to call the match off.
“We couldn’t order the other game (Maduma against Butha-Buthe Fast XI) to be stopped.
“You see how unfair that would have been to those two teams.”