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Lefa raises security concerns for U-23 team

By Teboho Molapo

MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) says it is concerned with the security of the national Under-20 team which is due to take part in the Caf African Youth Championship in Libya next month.

Libya is currently embroiled in serious political strife that has left at least 24 people dead.

The political disturbances have raised questions about the security of football teams which are due to descend on the country next month.

The Makoanyane XI is among eight countries that are due to take part in the championships in March.

Lesotho’s Under-20 side has been paired alongside Egypt, Mali and Libya.

The tournament is due to start on March 18 with Lesotho facing off against Egypt in Tripoli. The Makoanyane XI will then face hosts Libya on March 21, also in Tripoli.

The unrest in Libya is part of protests that have swept across the region and have seen dictatorial governments in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt tumble in recent weeks.

Speaking to the Sunday Express on Friday Lefa’s public relations officer Baba Malephane said the association was concerned by the developments in Libya.

“Definitely, we would like there to be security especially because we are talking about youngsters, even if it was the national team we would be very concerned. It is serious,” Malephane said.

“There has been nothing yet from Caf, maybe towards the time of the tournament they will communicate a way forward.”

Malephane said the instability across the region had affected plans to arrange a pre-tournament camp for the Makoanyane XI. Plans to tour Tunisia and Egypt had to be scrapped after similar protests last month.

“We were also looking at Morocco. But we have said we will take the team to Libya for a week before the tournament,” Malephane said.

Malephane said Lefa didn’t want a situation similar to what happened last year at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola when the Togo national team was attacked on the eve of the competition.

One person was killed and nine others were injured after the Togo team bus was ambushed as it travelled through Angola’s troubled Cabinda region.

“We don’t want to experience things like those that happened in Angola,” Malephane said. “We will continue to talk to our team. I believe Caf are already looking at the situation,” Malephane said.

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