MASERU — As far as deflating starts go this has to be the lowest of low points.
Four weeks after holding Zimbabwe to a creditable 1-1 draw in Bulawayo, Lesotho have now been stomped and trampled on by a nation where football is not even the national sport.
Stepping into the role of Likuena coach after the sudden sacking of Zavisa Milosavljevic last week, Leslie Notši would no doubt have expected a tough initiation in the hot and humid conditions of a Malaysia evening.
But Friday’s 5-0 thrashing is a shock of calamitous proportions that not even Likuena’s biggest detractor would have predicted.
The defeat is the worst suffered by Lesotho since 2002 when Likuena were beaten 6-0 by Gambia. Worse still the 5-0 defeat is the third heaviest in the country’s history.
To add to the embarrassment Malaysia — only ranked 152nd in the world — used their Under-23 side. And it was also Malaysia’s first competitive win of 2009.
It’s indicative of a Likuena team that has plunged into sudden turmoil after the promise of 2009 so far; the team suffered only one defeat in five international games — a 3-1 reverse in Maputo against Mozambique.
However, the combination of the poorly timed sacking of Milosavljevic and the pathetic handling of recent player ill-discipline by LEFA has resulted in the country’s lowest ebb for seven years.
Notši had selected his strongest possible side with Bokang Mothoana and Moitheri Ntobo back from an 11 month absence; with the only absentee being captain Lehlohonolo Seema.
But Likuena failed miserably, compounding Lesotho’s dreadful record over the past three years.
In 30 games Lesotho have lost 16 and won just six.
Notši will now have the tough job of picking up the side and preparing them for the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup which starts in Zimbabwe on October 17.
The team will arrive in the country on Monday and questions will be asked of the slapdash organisation that has turned Lesotho into the official laughing stock of world football.
Meanwhile Lesotho will play in the preliminary rounds of this year’s COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup to be held in Zimbabwe next month.
Because of their lowly ranking — 160th in the world and 44th in Africa — Likuena have not been seeded and will play in the pre-qualifiers along with hosts Zimba- bwe, Madagascar, Swaziland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Botswana and Reunion.
The eight countries will be divided into two groups of four with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals to join the six seeded nations — defending champions South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Malawi.
The tournament will run from October 17 to November 1.