MANY football fans left Setsoto Stadium a disappointed lot after Lioli’s lacklustre performance in the goalless draw with Zimbabwean side Caps United in the first leg match of the CAF champions League last Saturday.
I have no intention to dwell on the result but rather to say that performance certainly does not bode well for the return leg this afternoon in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Our teams have not been performing well in this competition for the past two decades consistently falling at the very first hurdle.
Some have argued that Lioli’s struggles last week were down to coach Halemakale Mahlaha getting his first 11 wrong but I do not think this was the case.
Remember we are talking about the dominant force in the local Vodacom Premier League who have won three titles in the last five years, including back-to-back crowns in the past two seasons.
I will not deny that it was unpleasant watching our players struggling the way did but then again this has been the familiar script over the years.
However much we may try to run and even hide behind many excuses, the simple but unpalatable truth remains that Lioli’s performance was a true reflection of the state of local football.
This is a bitter pill to swallow but like I have said in my previous columns, until football administrators get to the core of Lesotho football’s problems and start doing things by the book we will always endure such disappointments.
We know there were too many off the field issues in the days and weeks leading up to the match and it was evident that the players were not prepared.
It was the kind of performance we always witness- our teams playing purposeless football whenever they come up against foreign sides. This is what we get to see even in friendly matches.
Compared to our SADC counterparts, our football is still far behind and until we have clear development structures that will help to nurture and prepare the talent from the grassroots we will never break this hoodoo of falling at the first time of asking.
Last season Lioli beat Vital’O 1-0 away but the damage had already been done right here in their own backyard where they succumbed to a 2-0 loss to their Burundian opponents.
We are more likely to see an aeroplane at a train station than see out teams break this jinx at this moment in time.
With the current crop of players in this country I don’t see any team going past the first stage of the tournament.
It could still happen that Lioli beats Caps, in which case an even more daunting prospect will be waiting in the form of Congolese (DRC) giants TP Mazembe five-time winners of this competition.
And as long as our football administrators do not get their act together, I will not be holding my breath over our teams’ prospects in continental competitions.
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