MASERU — Mpharane Celtics could become the second side from Leribe in as many years to shoot up to the Premier League after the A-Division’s disputes and protests committee on Thursday ruled in their favour in their case against Maduma.
Maduma had automatically gained promotion to the Premiership on April 21 by virtue of a superior goal difference after thumping Butha-Buthe Fast XI 7-1 while Celtics could only beat Lifefo 5-1 on the final day of the season.
But Celtics appealed arguing the hour-late kick-off of Maduma’s match against Fast XI was unfair.
A-Division officials were reluctant to comment officially on Thursday’s decision.
But the Sunday Express can reveal Maduma have been docked three points and fined M500 for causing the match to start late because they did not have an appropriate away kit.
Hosts Fast XI have been fined M500 as well.
But Celtics’ promotion will be delayed because Maduma have appealed to the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa).
Approached for comment Celtics manager Freeze Ntene expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
“We are happy. We were always crying about punctuality and not about the score-line,” he said.
“They were given the opportunity to explain why the match started late but they failed to do so.
“We wanted to see if the laws could be applied to all teams and if there is this type of transparency football in Lesotho will grow.”
But Celtics’ promotion will be delayed because Maduma have appealed to the Lesotho Football Association.
Maduma committee member and player Ntsatsane Phera confirmed the development.
“We put in an appeal today. As the district of Butha-Buthe we see things happening in a way that is hurting Butha-Buthe,” Phera said on Friday.
“You can’t be happy that when your team is promoted to the Premier League and then next it is not,” Phera said.
The A-Division’s management committee has requested the matter be concluded before the Vodacom A-Division Top 8 Competition begins on April 24.
The first division has been disrupted by late-season appeals. Last week Melele appealed their loss to Little Flowers last Sunday claiming their opponents had used an ineligible player.
The A-Division’s spokesperson, Mosebo Motsoasele, on Friday said the disputes and protests committee would pass judgment this week.
Meanwhile, Lioli’s appeal against their executive committee’s four-year ban has been adjourned.
Lioli’s appeal was heard by Lefa’s appeals board on Friday.
On March 24, besides the ban, the Premier League also slapped the club with a M10 000 fine and a suspended 25 points deduction.
“It is still continuing. We haven’t given them (Lioli) a date when we will continue,” Lefa’s public relations officer Baba Malephane said yesterday.