The football world on Monday woke up to the shocking news that Barcelona ace Lionel Messi was retiring from the national team.
The Argentine made the announcement soon after the team lost 4-2 to Chile in the Copa America final.
Argentina were also defeated 1-0 by Germany in the final of the World Cup in Brazil and also lost 1-0 in the final of the Copa America to Chile last year.
Messi (29) was captain in all the losses and could not continue taking the heartbreak hence his decision to call time on his international career.
There is no doubt Messi is one of the best footballers of his generation, winning five World Footballer of the Year awards to confirm this acclaim.
The awards were largely for his exploits with Barcelona because he could never attain the same dizzy heights with Argentina.
While we were still trying to digest Messi’s international retirement, England coach Roy Hodgson sprung his resignation after his side lost 2-1 to minnows Iceland in Last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament currently underway in France.
Hodgson had been in charge of the team for four years but never won any trophies and the Iceland humiliation left him with no choice but to leave his post.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque followed suit three days later after his team’s 2-0 loss to Italy also at the Euro.
This was the second major tournament Spain failed to defend their title after they were knocked out in the group stage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
These resignations got me thinking about my beloved Lesotho where such admissions of failure are rare, if at all they happen to the extent that one decides to go without being fired.
We have become accustomed to seeing certain people in our sports administration hanging on despite not achieving anything for this country.
Messi, Hodgson and del Bosque could have stayed on in their jobs but they chose to do the honourable thing—which is calling it a day and let others pick up the baton and perhaps, change the fortunes of the respective teams.
That’s what I call self-respect, but also one thing I have noticed many Basotho holding top posts in sports administration do not have.
Calling it quits when things are not going your way doesn’t mean one is a coward or a failure but shows someone who believes and respects himself and his fellow citizens.
How I wish our sports administrators had such thinking capacity because if they did, Lesotho teams would not be this mediocre.
It always amazes me to see people clinging on to these posts yet they will be telling us they are in it voluntarily.
That’s why I am waiting for the day we will have people like Messi and Hodgson who know when to call time on their careers.
People should understand that they are not doing this for themselves but the whole nation and must not let pride get in their way and stop them from doing the honourable thing, which is resigning when they realise they are not adding much value to whatever they would be doing.