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LeFA explains U-20s’ Africa Cup exclusion

Moorosi Tsiane

THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has said the national undert-20 soccer side’s failure register for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that roars into life next Friday was due to lack of funds.

Makoanyane XI, as the side is affectionately known, is not among the 12 teams that were drawn for the championships a fortnight ago despite their effort in last year’s COSAFA under 20 Cup played in Zambia where they only lost to South Africa in the finals.

The last time Lesotho was represented in the qualifiers was two years ago when they lost to South Africa’s Amajita by an aggregate score of 7-1 after beating Mozambique by 3-2 aggregate.

LeFA secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, told the Sunday Express on Thursday that the association did not have funds to register the team as they already had four other teams playing in different competitions.

“We understand the nation’s concern but regrettably, we did not have the money required,” Mohapi said.

“Our ladies team were already registered for COSAFA by then, Bantu were also playing in the CAF Champions League, we had also registered the under-17 side in the COSAFA this year which will be used as a qualifier for the under 17s Africa Cup of Nations. Makoanyane had also been registered for COSAFA last year while Likuena had started their AFCON qualifiers campaign and were also in COSAFA.”

Mohapi said the decision was taken even before the team could compete in last year COSAFA where they returned as runner ups.

“This decision was taken even before the COSAFA tournament as the registration for this tournament was a year before. This has nothing to do with the team’s performance last December in Zambia,” he said.

“Likuena will get us the much-needed recognition. We are also trying to make sure our teams at least compete in COSAFA tournaments every year.

“We also thought it was prudent that we give the women’s team a chance on the international stage since their leagues has performed relatively well and that is why we registered them for the Women’s Nations Cup.”

Mohapi however, said the under 20 squad would participate in the Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) games scheduled for Botswana later this year.

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