Rugby boss hits back at Gi­ants

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho rugby (FLR) pres­i­dent, Fe­tang Selialia, says al­le­ga­tions of mis­man­age­ment lev­eled against his ad­min­is­tra­tion by Gi­ants rugby Club, are “dis­re­spect­ful and un­for­tu­nate”.

the league cham­pi­ons last week re­leased a damn­ing state­ment re­gard­ing FLR and also an­nounced they were pulling out of the fed­er­a­tion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect be­cause of the al­leged mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion.

reads the Gi­ants state­ment: “it is with great re­gret that we in­form all stake­hold­ers, sup­port­ers and the rugby fra­ter­nity at large, that the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons of the Le­sotho rugby League hosted by the Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho rugby (FLR), are pulling out of the league with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

“Gi­ants rugby Club is ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed with the state of rugby affairs, which are con­tin­u­ously mis­man­aged, as well as the gross mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Gi­ants play­ers and man­age­ment make this de­ci­sion with a heavy heart where, to date, an an­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing (AGM) has never sat to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance of the cur­rent crop of self-ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tors who de­ploy bul­ly­ing tac­tics within the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Gi­ants were un­fairly treated on mat­ters of al­leged ‘dis­ci­plinary hear­ings’ where a player was sus­pended on match-day for five games for a trans­gres­sion that he never re­ceived a proper hear­ing for.

“the ref­er­ee­ing has been sub­stan­dard, to say the very least, and the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral/ Pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer/ ‘face of Le­sotho rugby’ (all in one) de­lib­er­ately ref­er­eed a match with no rel­e­vant or prior ex­pe­ri­ence in or­der to in­flu­ence and frus­trate our play­ers.

“Gi­ants were also dis­ap­pointed with the way the FLR man­age­ment han­dled our post­match griev­ances by threat­en­ing to sus­pend play­ers fur­ther.

“there is a self-ap­pointed trio who run FLR like their own per­sonal busi­ness and will stop at noth­ing to re­main in power.

“rugby in Le­sotho is in dis­ar­ray and will con­tinue to be so if an ur­gent AGM, fi­nan­cial au­dit and even­tual in­ves­ti­ga­tion are not con­ducted.

“Gi­ants will now con­cen­trate on im­prov­ing our sta­tus in the east­ern Free State Grif­fons League where we ended in fifth po­si­tion out of 10 teams in 2015. Gi­ants will have a se­ries of friendlies with La­dy­brand, Ficks­burg and Cru­saders Bloem­fontein be­fore the league kicks off on 22 March 2016.”

How­ever, Selialia told the Le­sotho Times this week that he was dis­ap­pointed and hurt with the way Gi­ants aired their griev­ances.

“What i can tell you, as a found­ing mem­ber and now vice-pres­i­dent of the as­so­ci­a­tion, is we have been mostly fo­cused on de­vel­op­ment since the for­ma­tion of this or­gan­i­sa­tion in 2012,” Selialia said.

“We also formed Maseru Kings, now known as Gi­ants and we have not failed. We have in­ten­si­fied our grass­roots pro­grammes so much that we have 60 pri­mary schools and over 40 high schools play­ing the sport, as well as se­nior teams in four dis­tricts.

“We have been in agree­ment that since our fo­cus has been on lay­ing a good foun­da­tion for rugby, we have had to see to it that we af­fil­i­ate with the Le­sotho Sports and recre­ation Com­mis­sion (LSRC), Le­sotho na­tional olym- pic Com­mit­tee (Lnoc), and rugby africa which used to be called the Con­fed­er­a­tion of african rugby, and from there, reg­is­ter with the in­ter­na­tional rugby Board.

“the other as­pect was mak­ing sure we have fa­cil­i­ties for matches so we came up with a five-year strate­gic plan for all this.”

ac­cord­ing to Selialia, the agree­ment had been that the fed­er­a­tion would go for elec­tions in Jan­uary 2017.

“So what we have been do­ing, in­clud­ing play­ing in­ter­na­tional matches, has been part of the strate­gic plan. We had also agreed that we would go to the polls in 2017 to elect a new com­mit­tee,” said Selialia.

“noth­ing has changed and we will go for the elec­tions in Jan­uary so those al­le­ga­tions that peo­ple have put them­selves in of­fice do not hold wa­ter.

“the peo­ple be­hind that let­ter are not in the Gi­ants man­age­ment; they know noth­ing about the as­so­ci­a­tion and Gi­ants as a team, and were not there when we were elected to serve in the Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho rugby.

“there is no truth that we were not elected and put our­selves in of­fice. How can one serve a com­mit­tee with­out be­ing elected?

“We were elected and there are min­utes and the con­sti­tu­tion to prove it.

“th­ese al­le­ga­tions are be­ing made by peo­ple who want to de­stroy what we are try­ing to build. th­ese peo­ple do not even un­der­stand our con­sti­tu­tion.”

Selialia also said it was not true that the fed­er­a­tion was be­ing run by three peo­ple.

“We un­der­stand they have their griev­ances but they should have tabled them in a re­spectable man­ner,” said Selialia.

“We have since de­cided to boot them out of our league be­cause even our con­sti­tu­tion in­di­cates that all teams should play in the lo­cal league.

“But now that they will be play­ing in South africa, we are tak­ing them off our sys­tem and even their play­ers will not be picked for the na­tional team.

“the Gi­ants ex­ec­u­tive is out of con­trol and wants to run our as­so­ci­a­tion, but that will never hap­pen.”

Selialia also said the fed­er­a­tion would have an AGM early next month where the Gi­ants is­sue would be dis­cussed.

‘We were just wait­ing for the Sports Com­mis­sion elec­tions to pass and then hold our AGM. again, we give clubs the plat­form to ta­ble any is­sues they might be hav­ing dur­ing weekly fo­rums. But what i am stat­ing here is that the Gi­ants al­le­ga­tions are not true at all, and like i said, are sim­ply meant to cre­ate con­fu­sion.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Gi­ants Chair­man, Lite­boho Ma­hase, said the club stands by its state­ment and would not be in­tim­i­dated by the sus­pen­sion.

“that let­ter and the de­ci­sion to pull out of the rugby league was made by the man­age­ment of Gi­ants and we can only re­con­sider com­ing back once the FLR has put their house in or­der,” Ma­hase said.

“Un­til there is trans­parency, we will be play­ing in South africa.

“We want a com­pet­i­tive league, an as­so­ci­a­tion that has di­rec­tion and its com­mit­tee elected through the right chan­nels.”

Ma­hase also said their play­ers would not suf­fer for be­ing side­lined from the na­tional team “as it only plays one match the en­tire year”.

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