Machokha Football Club president, Lijane Nthunya, has thrown his hat into the ring in the race for a new Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) president.
The A-Division side’s president wants to unseat long serving LeFA president, Salemane Phafane, in the presidential election slated for Saturday.
Phafane was first elected to lead the association in 2004.
He enjoys solid support from seven of the ten District Football Associations (DIFA) of Berea, Leribe, Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Mafeteng, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek.
The seven collectively have 21 votes.
But the DIFAs in Maseru, Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek have teamed up with the Football Coaches Association of Lesotho to ensure that Phafane is voted out and replaced by Nthunya on Saturday.
Other bodies which will cast their votes on Saturday are the Lesotho Primary Schools Sports Association (LePSSA), Referees Association of Lesotho, Women’s National Football Committee, Lesotho Universities and College Sports Association (LUCSA), the Premier League and the Lesotho Institutions Sports Association (LISA).
Nevertheless, Phafane, who retained his position unopposed in 2017, remains a favorite and is tipped for a landslide victory against Nthunya.
Nthunya, who is also DIFA Maseru president, told the Lesotho Times he was confident of a win on Saturday.
“When you go to elections there are only two things that can happen You either win or lose,” Nthunya said.
“So, as long as the elections are fair, I will accept any verdict.
“For me, this race is not only about winning but we are trying to bring something different to the table. Let there be a challenge.”
Nthunya said he was ready to give Phafane a run for his money.
“I know that it is not going to be an easy contest but so far, things have been going good for me. However, you never know what will happen on Saturday. I can only remain hopeful that my people will not let me down.
“Based on what I am able to do as a person and my track record in football, I am confident. I believe I can do better and help improve the standard of football in Lesotho,” he said.
Should he win Saturday’s elections, Nthunya said reforming the association’s administration would be on top of his to-do-list.
“We need to restructure the administration,” he said, adding that the LeFA national executive committee should allow district football associations to independently run its affairs.
He said this would enable DIFAs to serve the football community at large instead of being confined to their respective districts.
Nthunya also wants the Premier and A-Division leagues to be fully autonomous.
“We also need to find ways of including football legends in football administration. Those are the people who are passionate about football and know a lot about it. I think they can really help in terms of football development.”
In the event that he wins the Saturday vote, Nthunya wants to ensure that Lesotho has at least one stadium in every district.
He said he would engage the ministries of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation and that of Education and Training to incorporate physical activities in their curriculums to help identify new talent.