The local football governing body the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has welcome the announcement made by Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro to allow for the resumption of all sports activities with spectators at full capacity of those who have vaccinated as of next month.
Addressing the nation on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, the Premier announced inter alia that the country would be delving into the use of a â€˜covid vaccine passportâ€™ as a prerequisite for service acquisition, inclusive of entering sporting fields and stadia, from November 1, 2021.
The new regulations will require that spectators have their National Identification Documents (IDs) and Covid-19 vaccinations cards with them in order to attend matches.
The move has been lauded by LeFA with the Secretary-General Mokhosi Mohapi saying the directive allows for the return of football action albeit with caution.
â€œThe directive is welcomed because it is what we were already advocating for in the resumption of sports activities, in the country,â€ Mohapi said.
Football is the most loved and followed sport in the country and has over recent years seen growth in revenue due to the increased numbers in sponsors. The sponsors were beginning to show dissatisfaction of matches where spectators were not allowed for over a year and half.
The country has since moved from the purple colour code to the blue one, and that means some restrictions which were previously in place have been eased.
Dr Majoro said spectators at the games are still expected to wear their facial masks while maintaining social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic.
In the previous soccer season, the premier league was forced to end prematurely due to the threat posed by the rampant COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government among others also suspended all sports activities and imposed other hard lockdown protocols meant to combat the spread of the virus.
Mohapi said the resumption of the soccer season is a great relief to the football family as they have been more than ready to restart.
â€œThe people asked for the return of sports, the government heard them and now we all just have to comply with the directive for everyoneâ€™s safetyâ€ he said.
Mohapi noted that LeFA will ensure that all the stated regulations are met, pleading with all soccer bodies and athletes to take responsibility and do what is expected out of them.
â€œIt will not be a challenge to enforce the regulations because we gave teams training on covid-19 compliance and so did players as well.
â€œAs for the spectators, we all know the situation that the world is facing so we have to adapt and comply for all our safety. We know there are people who always want to cause chaos even when they know what they should do or not do and they will be dealt with,â€ he said.
He said the fact that the pandemic is here to stay means that the nation has to learn to live with it by adhering to all its governing laws to avoid sports being suspended again in future.
Meanwhile, the task force representing sports in the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) had a meeting with the relevant authorities to map a way forward in preparation for the return of spectators to the grounds.