President of the global football mother body the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) Gianni Infatino has lauded newly elected Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) President Advocate Salemane Phafane KC and congratulated him for his re-election.
In statement sent from Zurich on Wednesday, Infantino said he recognised and was grateful to Phafane for the contribution made by him and the LeFA National Executive Committee (NEC)in ensuring the development of football in the country.
â€œPlease accept my warmest greetings and sincerest congratulations for your re-election as President of the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) for a four-year term, at the LeFA Ordinary Congress 2021 held on Saturday, 11 September 2021.
â€œI also seize the opportunity to thank you for all your efforts, your work and your important contribution to the development of our sport and the promotion of it values in Lesotho.
Sending you and your team my best wishes for the new mandate every success for all the challenges that lie ahead. I look forward, dear President, to continuing to work with you for the growth and prosperity of football in Lesotho in the years to come, â€œsaid Infantino.
Meanwhile, Phafane, says he would not have run for a record fifth time in the LeFA Presidential Elections which he won by a landslide 42-7 against Maseru District Football Association (DiFA) President Lijane Nthunya, had he not been begged by the NEC to stand for elections.
He said he was never intending to stand for elections this time around but was approached by the NEC to stay a bit longer.
He was speaking to delegates after his victory and said he had decided to step down from as early as after the third term but was asked to stay longer.
â€œI had made a decision to step down, I sat down with my team after my third term and asked them to let me go since I had done my part.
â€œI told them that I believe I had taught them enough for someone to take over but they begged me to run for another term so I agreed,â€ Phafane said.
In the following fourth edition of the elections, Phafane was not challenged and he said he believes that was due to the level of faith that the local football fraternity had in him, hence he had no choice but serve again.
He stated that even in the recent election it was the NEC that asked him to run again.
â€œThe agreement with my team was that the recent term was my last however they requested that I stand again. I heeded that request and so this is definitively my last,â€ he stated.
Meanwhile, LeFA released a statement on Sunday, it was noted that the Phafane secured 42 votes out of 49 delegates who were eligible to vote in the congress while his challenger scored only seven votes.
The statement further noted that in his speech, LeFA President, who was recently elected to serve in the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, conveyed his message of gratitude to LeFA structures for trusting him with another term in office as the President of the football mother body in the Kingdom.
â€œTo you my leaders, Secretaries, Presidents, and members of our structures, I thank you for your unshaken trust in choosing me as the leader of this Association again. I must say that without you, Iâ€™m nothing.
â€œI once again appeal to all the structures to join hands for the betterment of our football. I take this position on a mandate from you and together we can grow the level of football in this country to a higher level. We have big dreams for our football, we need your expertise, and we invite all of you to work with us to achieve this dream of ours,â€ reads the statement in pertinent part.
During the elections LeFA XVI Congress was graced by officials from the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC), Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), LeFA Honorary Secretary General Justice Tá¹§eliso Monaphathi and Honorary National Executive Committee (NEC) members Thabo Pule and Rantsubise Matete among many others.