MASERU — It all started over the M15 that football fans were paying to watch the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular match between Matlama and Mokhotlong LMPS last Saturday.
Yesterday the farce had degenerated into spectacular chaos that once again reminded football lovers that the administration of the game in the country leaves a lot to be desired.
Mokhotlong LMPS didn’t pitch up for the replay ordered for yesterday morning — and when they finally did, they were only coming for the semi-final against Linare.
The circus only got more absurd when the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) told Mokhotlong LMPS they had been booted out of the tournament for arriving late.
The police side would have none of that.
And they threatened to seek a court order to reverse their expulsion from the tournament.
Yet Mokhotlong LMPS would not even have made the long trip to Maseru yesterday had someone not called off their quarterfinal match against Matlama last week.
They were trailing 0-4 on aggregate when the match was abandoned at halftime after Matlama failed to agree with tournament sponsor over the day’s gate-takings – which were not expected to exceed M3 000.
And the sponsor’s name would not have been further soiled had Lefa expeditiously decided the fate of the abandoned match.
The replay decision was only reached on Friday afternoon — less than 24 hours before the match was supposed to start afresh.
And Mokhotlong LMPS were expected to hitch-hike from Mokhotlong, more than 300km north of Maseru, in time for the 9 am replay.
The police side also argued they were not being updated of the developments in the capital.
“We struggled to get transport having to get vehicles from Butha-Buthe to bring the team here,” Mokhotlong LMPS manager Kokolia Mokonyane told the Sunday Express.
“We left at 11 pm (on Friday), sleeping on the road, and we arrived here at 11 am.
“Yet we have to be told 48 hours before according to the rules of football,” he said.
Mokonyane said earlier they thought Matlama had been booted out of the tournament and Mokhotlong would play Linare in the semi-final.
“At 4 pm we knew that we were going to play against Linare,” he said.
That was not to be and that’s why at one time three teams — Linare, Matlama and Mokhotlong LMPS — all trooped into the field for the semi-final.
But as things stand now, Matlama will play Likhopo in today’s final.
Likhopo beat LDF 2-1 while Tse Putsoa edged Linare 2-0 in a match that started three hours late because of the circus over who would play Linare.
Lefa spokesman Baba Malephane told the Sunday Express they were worried the farce would strain their partnership with Vodacom Lesotho.
“It’s bad, they (Vodacom) have been hurt, and other people have taken advantage of the situation to put down the sponsor,” he said.
The tournament is being run by Lefa’s organising and events management committee made up of Mokhosi Mohapi, Lintle Phasumane, Tabai Motuba and Maswatzi Nkome.
These four — and their bosses — will surely not add this spectacular farce on their CVs.
They must be praying that today’s final passes without incident.
Of course the glamour of the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular has already been robbed by Lefa’s apparent incompetence.