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Matlama boss dismisses club dispute reports

Teboho Molapo


MASERU — Matlama president Ikhetheleng Matabane has dismissed reports of discord at the Vodacom Premier League champions over money the club wants to pay their title-winning players.

Tse Putsoa players reportedly want at least half of the M100 000 that Matlama pocketed for winning the top-flight league.

But the club is reportedly not prepared to pay out that much.

Matabane, however, told the Sunday Express the club was yet to decide how much of the prize money would be given to the players.

He said reports that the players had disagreed with what the club was prepared to give them were not well-informed.

“I don’t know that there is any disagreement,” Matabane said on Friday.

“We need to put the record straight. We are still to meet with the players and (those stories) have been written without research.”

Although he would not say how much the players would get, Matabane appeared to suggest a huge chunk was likely to be reserved for Matlama’s participation in the African Champions League next year.

“Given the fact that we are going to play in an international competition, as the president I have said to the players that we should meet to discuss the way forward,” he said.

Football in Lesotho is played at an amateur level with teams run on shoe-string budgets financed by well-wishers.

Players do not have contracts and at best they only get paltry allowances and winning bonuses.

Matabane said they were trying to woo sponsors in a bid to make Matlama the first professional club in the country.

By 2014, according to the Mohale Declaration, Lesotho should have a professional league.

That means all teams will have to meet minimum requirements such as having offices to operate from, constitutions, rubber stamps, registered supporters and, needless to mention, bank accounts.

All teams in the Vodacom Premier League had met the minimum requirements by the end of last season, including providing marshals, a stretcher and a demarcated technical area during matches.

But Matlama still do not have an office and a genuine youth development system.

“If you look at the strategic plan of Matlama our intention is to build an organisation for the future,” Matabane said.

“We want Matlama to be the first team and to achieve that (professionalism) we have to start revenue-generating programmes to make Matlama a sustainable club.

“We have acquired a licence to sell airtime, for example, and that is apart from other ventures like opening sports shops.”

He added: “Football in Lesotho is not self-sufficient. Yes yesterday we won the league but it doesn’t mean our problems have been solved.”

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