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Matlama in trouble over violence



MASERU – Vodacom Premier League champions Matlama could be fined or docked points for last Saturday’s disgraceful scenes which saw a fan launch a violent attack on former coach Mothobi

Molebatsi after the side’s defeat to Lijabatho in Morija.

Molebatsi resigned as coach the following day despite leading Matlama to the league championship last season and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) says it is contemplating imposing punishments of its own on Matlama and the fan.

According to the league’s spokesperson Bokang Phasumane, the PLMC has received a report of what happened in Morija and is also aware of the measures the club has taken.

Matlama have banned Motlatsi Tšele of the club’s Thetsane supporters’ branch from attending their games for five years, four of which have been suspended.

Phasumane insisted Tšele’s shameful acts are unwanted in football and have dragged the league’s name through the mud.

He said the PLMC is considering punishing ‘Tse Putsoa’ although he would not say what the punishment would be.

Matlama’s supporters have a reputation for violence at football grounds and if they are not fighting, they are singing songs laden with vulgar language that is not suitable for kids attending games.

“We have received the report and we are still studying and doing our own investigations into what happened in Morija, and then we will decide what punishment is suitable,” Phasumane said while also condemning Tšele’s behaviour.

“We realise the club has already taken steps against the individual but this is unacceptable and affects the reputation of the league. We could decide to punish the club or the individual or both, we will see,” he said.

The last time the Premier League was marred by a similarly brazen incident of fan violence was in 2016 when Bantu fans attacked match assessor Moeketsi Moholobela after a league defeat to Kick4Life.

Bantu were fined M20 000, half of which was suspended, after the PLMC found them guilty of misconduct and failing to control their supporters.

Any monetary punishment for Matlama could be in that region or higher.

Earlier this week, Matlama released a statement saying they are disappointed with what happened and the club apologised to the football fraternity.

The club has also ordered the Thetsane branch to provide five unpaid marshals for all home games this season.

However, Tšele’s ban is a slap on the wrist because it means he will only serve one year of his punishment and will soon enough be back in the stands, despite his thuggish acts.

Reportedly, Tšele’s shallow explanation was that he was not attacking Molebatsi; instead, he was targeting Molebatsi’s assistant coach, Sello Seholoholo, and could not differentiate between them.

What makes Tšele think attacking Seholoholo is acceptable and not as bad is mystifying, and how a football club can have such a despicable following of entitled people who think the world revolves around them is astounding.

Matlama fans seem to think they have a divine right to winning and it is always someone else’s fault if they cannot — it is either referees conniving against their team or because the coach is not good enough.

All eyes are now on the PLMC to see what steps they will take against Matlama.

The Lesotho Football Coaching Association has also condemned the supporter while many have suggested behaviour like this is why football in Lesotho is stagnant.

Football fans have every right to be unhappy with losing and to air their grievances, but there is a line and Tšele crossed it.

Tlalane Phahla

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