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Roma in turmoil

Teboho Molapo


ROMA — The recent scourge of crowd violence struck again yesterday as match officials were attacked by Rovers fans during a Vodacom Premier League match with Matlama in Roma.

Lesotho football could be in serious crisis.

It is less than a month since a league match between Matlama and Lioli at Pitso Ground was abandoned because of crowd trouble.

Yesterday, it was the match officials who found themselves under attack by the home team’s supporters after Matlama’s Dlomo Monapathi had scored a 96th minute equaliser, to make the scoreline 1-1.

What followed were scenes even worse than those witnessed at Pitso Ground as the nearside assistant referee Sufi Shale was mobbed by Rovers fans.

And when he fled towards the half-way line to join his colleagues, fellow assistant Puputla Lesupi and referee Moeti Mpopo, all three were pelted with missiles, ranging from beer bottles to stones.

Rovers fans then sat on the pitch and refused to move, chanting and then performing some sort of sit-down protest. After a brief period of calm, Mpopo blew to call-off the match.

As the referees ran towards their cars, they were charged by Rovers coach Thabo Thite, who had to be restrained, and then again by Rovers fans.

The scenes were witnessed by Premier League chairman Tlholo Letete, who had a first-hand view. Once more, there was no security whatsoever provided and beer bottles were again the weapon of choice.

Rovers, who went into the match second from bottom of the log, were heading for only their fourth win of the season after Mpho Matsinyane’s 64th minute penalty had given the Roma side the lead.

However, six minutes into added time, Monapathi’s header brought the scores level, much to the fury of Rovers fans who had been calling for the referee to end the match.


Yesterday’s results:

Linare 1-0 Joy; Majantja 1-3 Bantu; Botha-Bothe Roses 0-1 Lerotholi Polytechnic; Mphatlalatsane 1-0 LCS; Rovers vs Matlama (match abandoned).


Today’s fixtures:

LDF vs Rovers; Matlama vs LMPS; Likhopo vs Swallows; Lioli vs Nyenye Rovers.

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