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Football indaba the way to go

Moorosi Tsiane

LAST Sunday morning, football supporters in the country were holding their breaths waiting with great anticipation for one of the most important matches the Lesotho senior soccer team has ever played.

Likuena were faced had a once in a lifetime chance to qualify for the 2019 AFCON competition as they were to take on the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde that afternoon.

The Moses Maliehe coached side was on the brink of making a history by being the first group to take the country for the biennial competition.

Likuena only needed a win to book a spot in the tournament as they sat second in Group L with five points after Uganda who had 13 points.

Tanzania were third with five points but Likuena were ahead in terms of head to head results.

The Taifa Stars were playing the Cranes of Uganda on the same day.

Fast forward to 7pm local time, Tanzania had thumped Uganda 3-0 while Likuena played a goalless stalemate with Cape Verde. That meant Tanzania qualified and for us; it was another sad chapter of history repeating itself.

There were just so many things that the technical team did wrong on the day that I will not delve into as they have been exhausted on other platforms.

However, I think what we must be concerned about now is how are we going forward from that loss.

Likuena’s dismal performance on Sunday proved that as a country we are way behind when it comes to football. As much as I was unhappy with the team’s overly defensive approach for the entire game when they instead desperately needed a win, I understand where the coach was coming from.

Our players, compared to their Cape Verde counter-parts, looked just ordinary and even failed to connect three passes among themselves.

They never won any loose balls and Cape Verde players were all over Likuena.

Our tactical approach was poor and this is a perennial challenge for our teams at every level.

Unless we take a stand to change this approach, then we may have to wait for a decade before we can qualify for any major tournament.

I think it is time the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) calls for a football indaba where all the stakeholders in football including coaches, players, sports journalists, private sector and the government can seat down and discuss all the challenges facing local sports and what needs to be done to end this disappointing spell.

The truth of the matter is that this issue doesn’t only affect LeFA or Likuena coaching stuff although understandably, many of us have been throwing stones at them.

For a long time, we have been lying to ourselves thinking that we are heading in the right direction while truth is that we win some of these matches just by sheer luck. Our players are just way behind even in terms of basic football tactics.

We must sit down and plot the way we want to develop and nurture our players because with this current crop, we will continue going in circles.

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