Sunday Express

Likuena coach fired

Zavisa (Large)MASERU — Lesotho’s national coach Zaviša Milosavljevi? has been sacked, ending his 16-month spell in charge of Likuena.

The Serb was appointed last April but he has struggled to improve the fortunes of the senior side.

When Milosavljevi? took charge Likuena were ranked 161st in the world, but he leaves them in 160th place in FIFA’s latest standings.

A statement issued by the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) on Friday said Milosavljevic would be relieved of his duties.

“The Lesotho Football Association has given Zaviša Milosavljevi? a six-month notice of termination of his employment,” the statement said.

“The National Executive Committee (of LEFA) has reached this decision after reviewing the coach’s performance over a period of over a year-and-a-half.”

Yesterday Milosavljevi? refused to comment, only saying: “I’m not responsible for making any comments about Likuena anymore.”

Likuena assistant coach Leslie Notši has taken over the reins with immediate effect.

His first task will be Lesotho’s friendly away to Malaysia on Friday.

He will also prepare Likuena for the upcoming COSAFA Senior Challenge in Zimbabwe starting on October 17.

“Notši will be assisted by Lehlohonolo Thotanyana until a decision has been made by LEFA,” the football mother body said.

“As a way forward, the NEC of LEFA has decided to dedicate all efforts and resources on youth teams particularly the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 teams.”

Zavisa (Large)

Likuena played 17 international matches under Milosavljevi?, losing nine times, drawing six and winning only twice.

The 47-year-old’s tenure included a catastrophic 2010 FIFA World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifying campaign in which Lesotho lost all their six games, scoring only two goals and conceding 12.

This year had seen relative improvement in the team’s performances with Milosavljevi?’s last match in charge — a 1-1 draw away with Zimbabwe last month — earning positive reviews from the Zimbabwean media.

However it seems this has not been enough to satisfy his bosses.

Ill-discipline has been reported and three Likuena players were dropped before the Zimbabwe friendly after escaping camp for a drinking binge while reports of similar behaviour during the trip have surfaced.

“It has become obvious to the NEC of LEFA and the football fraternity that there are no prospects of improving the performance of the senior national team and the ranking of Lesotho under the auspices of Mr Milosavljevi?,” said the LEFA statement.

Upon his appointment Milosavljevi? promised “an offensive type of football with flair”.

However, this never quite materialised – an issue that is thought to have annoyed some of his players.

The Serbian was reported to be earning US$10 000 (M76 000) a month.

His contract was due to end in 2011.

Speaking to the Sunday Express yesterday, LEFA vice-president Khiba Mohoanyane said the coach’s sacking was purely due to poor results.

“Football is a results-oriented business,” he said.

“The coach’s job (security) is performance-related, and in all the games he was in charge he won only two.

“Performance can be attributed to his dismissal.”

Mohoanyane insisted that LEFA and Milosavljevi? were still on good terms.

Milosavljevi?, a professor of physical education from Belgrade University, is a former coach of the Serbian Under-16 and Under-19 national teams.

He also coached five clubs in his native Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia), including top-flight outfits FK Mogren and Dinamo Belgrade.

From 1999 to 2001 Milosavljevi? coached FK Bor in the Serbian second division before coaching APR FC in Rwanda for one year, winning the national cup and national Super Cup in 2002.

He then spent four years as Serbia’s Under-19 coach before his appointment by Lesotho.

Milosavljevi? was Lesotho’s second foreign coach after German Antoine Hey’s tenure from 2004 to 2006.

His dismissal means no Likuena coach has spent 24 months at the helm of the national since the turn of the century.

Between 2000 and 2003 the Likuena job ping-ponged between Monaheng Monyane, Ribo Ramakau, Seepheephe Matete and Mahao Matete.

In 2003 a four-member committee was appointed to coach Likuena.

It was headed by then national coach Monyane, assisted by Seepheephe Matete.

The other two members were Mahao Matete and Lehlohonolo Thotanyana.

Hey was then appointed in 2004, followed by Motheo Mohapi in 2006.

Mohapi was sacked in 2007.

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