Lesotho Football Association has issued a statement regarding the issuance of Likuena replicas to the journalists.
“The Lesotho Football Association Communications department on behalf of its media partners would like to express its gratitude to the LeFA President Advocate Salemane Phafane (KC) and the Executive Committee for a noble gesture to give every member of the press, who attended the press conference on Tuesday a Likuena replica”. The statement said.
But the issuance of replica to the Lesotho sports journalists has raised a concern to Mr Bokang Kheekhe from Basotho Ink. He tabled his side of the story on the social media and confirmed to this publication that he wrote that piece.
In the Facebook page Kheekhe raised his concern about this gift to the journalists.
He asked whether this is different from what he did when he was forced to provide 100 replicas by LeFA President but settled for 50 which was allocated to the Minister of Sports, Director Sports, PS Sports and LSRC CEO.
He said all these happened during the LeFA elections period.
“Today LeFA afforded journalist with replicas free of charge as you see this picture here. I am grateful, but I trust this is not done because elections are on the pipeline.
“This is not meant to silence the journalist when they have to report fairly and at times to criticize LeFA where criticism is due”, continued Kheekhe.
“ It is my anticipation that Mr Mohapi will withdraw his words when he said we acted like father Christmas when we gave replicas free”, concluded Kheekhe.
LeFA statement further indicated that LeFA has a very good working relationship with all the sports journalists and this was a token of appreciation for their hard work in promoting the beautiful game in the country.
It’s also important to note that LeFA respects press freedom and journalistic independence. The association will continue to support the media like they did in collaborating with MISA Lesotho to hold a media seminar in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with LeFA Information Officer Mr Mikia Kalati said this is not the first time that that the association has done something like that. It’s through sports journalism that football continues to grow through their different media platforms and this was just a thank you from LeFA to their media partners.
“Again, this is a practice that is being done all over the world. SAFA does it in South Africa as well as most of the PSL clubs in South Africa, who give away their replicas to journalists at the start of every season”, said Mikia.
“LeFA supports growth of journalism in many different ways and this is why we have also partnered with Misa Lesotho for a media seminar that was held late last year.
“To add on that, the association had also done the same for clubs CMMs, who always assist their communications department to promote and sell Likuena games and the gesture to give our replicas is to appreciate their efforts”, concluded LeFA Information Officer.
One of the journalists from one of the radio stations in Lesotho who benefited from the replicas but did not want to be disclosed shared Mikias’s sentiments.
He said this is not bribery and they will not compromise principles of journalism in reportage of LeFA’s issues.
The reporter showed that Lioli Football Club gave journalists replicas sometime back, but they do not jeopardize ethics when they report about Lioli FC.
“There is nothing wrong, we are the brand to help marketing the sport, Basotho will know with us that Likuena regalia is available”, said the reporter.
He stressed that LeFA did what he was supposed to have done long time ago.