Women’s football leader up in arms

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Pascalinah Kabi

 

MASERU — A local women’s football leader has accused the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) of neglecting the women’s game.

Maleshoane Mokhathi, head of the Women’s Football Development Committee, says it would be better if the international football body Fifa were to stop funding the women’s game in the country.

The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) receives US$250 000 every quarter from Fifa and at least 15 percent of the grant should be chanelled towards the women’s game.

But Mokhathi has accused Lefa of undercutting women’s football.

She told a press briefing on Wednesday that the women’s committee had an annual budget of M252 000 but Lefa could only give them M75 000 for the whole year.

Yet 15 percent of US$250 000, the quarterly grant that Lefa gets from Fifa, comes up to about M282 000.

“We want Fifa to stop funding women’s football in Lesotho because it is clear the executive doesn’t have the drive or passion to develop women’s football,” Mokhathi said.

“As women’s football we asked the association to write to Fifa telling them to stop funding us as women because we don’t benefit from these funds.”

Mokhathi was furious that plans to send Lesotho’s Under-20 women’s side to the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa (SUSCA) Games in Swaziland in December had been dropped.

She said Lefa had also told them in the past that the national women’s sides could not be allowed to compete internationally because they were not good enough.

“Last year, Lefa never gave us a chance to compete saying thimi ea rona e jeoa haholo (our team is always defeated),” Mokhathi said.

“How will we know the improvement of our team when we are not given opportunities like the SUCSA Games?”

Lefa technical director Seephephe Matete, however, said the women’s committee had not officially communicated its concerns to the local football mother body.

The Women’s Football Development Committee reports directly to Matete’s office.

“I don’t remember them officially saying that in a meeting I attended,” he said.

“I heard about them wanting Lefa to write to Fifa to cut women’s football grants but it was not official.”

Matete confirmed that Lefa was not giving women’s football all the money given by Fifa.

“Yes they are getting M75 000 and that is an executive decision,” he said.

“The executive however has told them to continue doing their activities and Lefa will see where and how they will be helped to make sure their activities are carried out.”

Matete said national women’s sides could not compete internationally because they did not meet the minimum requirements set by Lefa.

“Lefa has a policy that every team must meet minimum requirements set in Lefa’s policy for them to be registered for any international competition,” he said.

“The policy states that a team must select its players from a league and if it performs well, the association will select coaches for it.

“The team will also have to play a minimum of five international friendly matches of which it has to win three.

“It can then be registered for any international competition.”

He said the policy did not only apply to women’s football.

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