Butha-Buthe based Premier League side, Lifofane officially announced that the club is selling its premiership status.
Lifofane becomes a third team in the premier league this season to announce that they are selling the top flight status after Kick4Life and Galaxy.
In their statement released on Wednesday, the club highlighted that stretched expenditure as a result of the lengthy season brought by Covid-19 is what forced them to reach the decision.
“The season that just ended was the longest and most expensive. There were a lot of challenges that we encountered to finish this season that started in middle of covid-19 pandemic.
“The just ended season became the most difficult course to finish for management, technical team, general administration and players. We lost a lot of players, administrators and financial partnerships,” the statement reads.
For the first time in the history of the premier league in Lesotho, the top flight season went over two full premier league years just to conclude one season.
Shortly after the 2020/21 Vodacom Premier League (VPL) season started, it was forced to stop in January 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In April 2021, the league momentarily resumed as reports of Covid-19 cases started spreading like wildfire in the various premier league clubs starting with Linare and Matlama soon followed. This forced the football governing body, Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) to suspend football related activities once more.
That suspension would last between July to November with no football activities in the country.
“Financial Resources became a most difficult commodity because of lockdown and a very long season. The reserves that the team had were depleted and players were the ones hit hard by the situation.
“The person given responsibility to manage the team tried everything to finish the season by knocking in every door where he could get help. A lot of people assisted where they could possibly help but the team expenditure proved to be too much under prevailing economic conditions.
“Players became more understanding of the situation but understanding was not enough as they needed to make a living,” further reads the statement.
The team said the decision had to be taken about the future of the team and well-being of everyone involved for this move will make way for new ideas.
However, it also stated that first preference will be afforded to a buyer willing to keep the team in the Butha-Buthe district in consideration of the fans and supporters.
“Conclusion is to sell the team to allow new management and new ideas. Preference will be given to anyone who wants to keep the team in the district. If that does not materialize, we will sell status to anyone,” the management said.
Bidding process from potential buyers are expected from the coming week.
The club acknowledged the impact the decision will have on the supporters but said it was not easy reaching the conclusion. It further thanked the supporters and all those who contributed to its success over the years.
“This is not good news for our supporters but some decisions are difficult. We hope for the best for this team. We built this team to fight for promotion and compete in the elite league but things started deteriorating.
“We want to thank our supporters and everyone that contributed towards this team,” concludes the statement.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Mokhosi Mohapi said the trend of premier league clubs selling their status can only be attributed to the advent realities brought by Covid-19.
“The season was long yes and very costly financially to most of our premier league clubs with some managing to navigate the storm while others struggled. All this was because of the pandemic that none of us could be spared from. It was not only football that was affected; even some of the businesses had to close because of the poor economy. Unfortunately, our football is not yet at a place where it could survive the storm. We can only hope those who buy the clubs’ status will bring in fresh ideas to sustain the current economic challenges,” Mohapi said.