….as the team is relegated to A Division League…

Sekonyela Qaitsane

Just when the VPL was over and CCX thought they had done just enough to secure their status in the elite division, they we recently dealt a heavy blow wherein the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Disciplinary and Protests Committee (DISPRO) ruled that Manonyane FC was the rightful team to stay in the league instead.

The ruling comes after Manonyane was filed a case, against Liphakoe FC stating that Liphakoe had fielded an ineligible player in their encounter on May 11 this year. They were therefore awarded three points from the game they had initially lost 2 – 0. Upon the completion of the VPL last week, Manonyane was on position 15 with 19 points and had been relegated alongside Naughty Boys FC who finished bottom on the log with 10 points.

CCX who also had 19 points had survived the axe due to the head-to-head advantage over Manonyane and ACE Maseru in a three-team log standing.

However, the DISPROCO ruling moved Manonyane to position 13 with 22 points after it was awarded the extra three points.

Manonyane had lodged a case at the DISPROCO that Liphakoe had fielded a player, Thabang Mofihli, who had been registered with two other teams for the 2023/2024 season, thus playing for Liphakoe unlawfully.

The player had joined Liphakoe at the beginning of the 2023/2024, on loan from Limkokwing University (LU) FC for the first half of the season. He also appeared to have registered with A Division League side, Roma Boys, even though he never played for it. He had continued to play for Liphakoe beyond the first half of the season even though there was no official release procedure from LU FC.

The case was heard by DISPROCO on Tuesday afternoon at Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) headquarters in Maseru. The judgement was handed down on Friday.

DISPROCO found Liphakoe guilty of fielding a defaulter (Mofihli) when it played Manonyane on 11 May 2024 at LCS Ground in Maseru. Liphakoe had won that match by 2-0.

Manonyane had also argued that, even if they were to ignore Mofihli’s registration to Roma Boys, he was still registered as a Limkokwing University player. The loan lapsed on 31 December 2023 and Manonyane argued that it was never extended but the player continued to play for Liphakoe. Thus, Manonyane argued that the player had been a defaulter since 1 January 2024 until the last match he played for Liphakoe during the 2023/24 season.

“We find that when he was fielded in the match played between Manonyane and Liphakoe on Saturday 11 May 2024, Thabang Mofihli held two registrations, that of Roma Boys and Liphakoe,” DISPROCO said.

“Again, the loan term of the player had long expired and therefore he was not eligible to play for the respondent (Liphakoe).”

Therefore, DISPROCO ruled in favour of Manonyane and awarded the team three points and three goals from that match.

“The respondent (Liphakoe FC) will forfeit the three points and goals of that match for contravening the regulations.

“The applicant team (Manonyane FC) is awarded the three points and three goals of the match played between the two teams.”