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Let us treat players well

by Sunday Express
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Moorosi Tsiane

THE senior national team will be out for glory this afternoon in what is deemed the most important fixture for the side taking on Cape Verde in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.

Likuena goes into today’s fixture sitting second in Group L with a point behind Uganda with three points while Tanzania also has one point in third. Cape Verde at the bottom will also hope for better fortunes to break the duck after losing to Uganda in the first match in June last year have zero point.

A win today will be very important for Moses Maliehe’s outfit as it will enhance their chances of qualifying for the biennial competition which will be staged in Cameroon next year.

I think all the stakeholders know how important this match is for both the technical team and the players who are expected to carry on from their impressive COSAFA showing earlier. The side finished third behind runners up Zambia and eventual winners Zimbabwe.

It is vital that Maliehe’s troops are geared for this match and it is only unfortunate that United States based Thetsane Lesia failed to make it for the game owing to “school commitments.”

However, the inclusion of foreign based players in Masoabi Nkoto, Tumelo Khutlang, Tshwarelo Bereng, Luciano Matsoso (all South Africa based) and Tšotleho Jane (Cambodia) in the team is a major positive.

This shows on how seriously the technical team is taking this match.

I was however, left perplexed by how the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) is handling the travelling arrangements of the players from their respective bases.

Apparently, all these players except for Jane travelled from their teams to Lesotho by road.

This means that Khutlang, Matsoso and Bereng who ply their trade at Black Leopards drove for arguably 10 hours from the Limpopo province to Lesotho. Real Kings’ Masoabi drove for about six hours from Kwazulu Natal to join the camp.

By any measure this does not sit well for a country that intends to improve its football fortunes. LeFA has to ensure that such players get plane tickets to reduce the time they spend on the road and enhance their concentration when they get into camp.

Traveling by road is energy sapping and players may need a minimum of a day or even more to rest after such long journeys.

Save from Bereng and Matsoso, Khutlang and Masoabi have hit the ground running in their respective teams. One can boldly say they will soon have cemented their places in the starting line-ups of their respective sides having each started two games scoring once.

Imagine a scenario where either Black Leopards or Real Kings have midweek fixtures and the players have to leave the football pitch straight onto either a bus or car to travel t Lesotho.

It is clear that the players would be unfit for duty when they arrive in the country. It is also likely they would lose their places in their starting line-up when they return to their clubs as they also have to travel by road.

After today’s game, the players are likely going to leave the country tomorrow and spend long hours to their respective clubs and may be unfit for their upcoming weekend fixtures.

LeFA must urgently fix this matter and hopefully, this is the last time that this is happening or the players will eventually reject calls to play for the national team.

After that they will only be labelled traitors or rebels or worse, their teams may refuse to release the players.

LeFA needs to ensure that players’ welfare comes first for without the players then we may as well forget entertaining hopes of ever playing at the continental level.

With that said I wish our boys the best of luck and I wish Basotho come out in numbers to rally behind the team.

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