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Likuena in forex gaffe

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) was nearly stranded on Wednesday when it struggled to raise foreign currency for players’ allowances, the Sunday Express has learnt.

In yet another vivid illustration of the bungling that has become characteristic of Lefa, officials from the association left it until late before they began running around scrounging for foreign currency.

They even approached the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) only to be told the central bank was not in the business of providing foreign currency to individuals.

The embarrassing episode could not have come at a worse time for the national team that takes on Sao Tomé in a rescheduled African Nations Cup preliminary round qualifier tie in Sao Tomé this afternoon.

A source close to the association said the officials failed to secure United States dollars, the preferred currency for international travellers, from commercial banks.

It is then that they decided to approach the central bank at the 11th hour.

Central Bank of Lesotho chief public relations officer, Thato Mohasoa, was blunt in his response when he was approached for a comment by the Sunday Express.

“The central bank does not issue any US dollars; the business of foreign exchange is done by commercial banks only,” Mohasoa said.

Besides, Mohasoa said, the Lefa officials had come to their offices when it was already late.

“The lady who was helping them has given me a report showing that they (Lefa) came here very late to ask for dollars,” he said.

Mohasoa said he expected Lefa to know very well that the central bank does not issue any foreign currency to the public.

“They were only taking chances because by the time they came here commercial banks were already closed,” Mohasoa said.

“I am told their (players’ and officials’) authorisations were done very late. There was no way we could have helped them because we do not keep any foreign currencies.”

Lefa communications manager, Mikea Kalati, refused to comment telling the Sunday Express the association was not ready to discuss the matter.

“No comment on anything related to this topic,” Kalati said on Friday.

The Sunday Express understands that the players were only given their allowances in South Africa currency.

Players were given R100 a day while officials pocketed R200 a day for the five days they were expected to be on national duty.

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