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Tough rules for foreign players

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MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has introduced stricter requirements for clubs registering foreign players.

The change comes in the light of an ongoing human trafficking case in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court involving Mohau Majara, an amateur football player from Ha-Seoli.

The 30-year-old factory worker was involved in a whirlwind nightmare last year after his Nigerian neighbour, Sikuru Rasheed, promised to find him a team in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Majara ended up spending a miserable five months as a pawn for traffickers in the UAE before finding his way home.

In light of that case, clubs will now have to provide proof of residence permits or work permits for any foreign players registered with the teams.

The human trafficking case has caused shivers within the football fraternity and LEFA says it is determined to sift out frauds in football that are masquerading as players and agents.

LEFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi made the announcement to clubs during a consultative meeting involving Premier League, A-Division and Women Super League teams this week.

Mohapi also said from this season onwards, clubs that have contracts with players are compelled to enter those contracts into LEFA’s players registration system.

He said if clubs withhold that information, the agreements will be deemed to be amateur engagements which shall expire at the end of the 2022/23 season.

“For those with contracts, they can start talking to other teams six months before the contract expires and they can sign a pre-contract (with another club) which will be effective a day after the expiry of their current contract,” Mohapi explained.

LEFA says this is aimed at protecting players who are not given copies of their contracts and do not know the real duration of their contracts.

The association has also told the clubs that they now have to play at least half of their home matches in the District Football Association (DIFA) jurisdiction to which they have affiliated with, for example, Matlama in Maseru or Bantu in Mafeteng.

If the clubs’ chosen facilities for official league games do not have basic amenities such as ablution facilities, internal perimeter fencing, they will be fixtured at other facilities that are compliant.

Amongst other things discussed during the meeting was the coaching requirements for next season with Mohapi saying all coaches in Vodacom Premier League must hold CAF A Licences.

However, as a compromise, this season a minimum of a CAF B Licence will be required for Premier League coaches while their assistants must hold at least a CAF C.

Meanwhile, while in the A-Division, coaches will have to show their CAF C licences and their assistants, CAF D licences, in the Women’s Super League, the coaches must hold at least a CAF D License.

In line with CAF sanctions, LEFA advised clubs to start as early as now to be compliant. For the CAF Club Licence, which will be implemented from next year, clubs will have to have general managers, finance managers, media officers, and medics.

LEFA’s club licensing applications for the 2022/23 league season closed last week and there are clubs that have not met the minimum requirements while others flaunted the process. LEFA has given clubs a grace period to redo their submissions and meet the criteria required.

Tlalane Phahla

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