Hitman explains why he did not report for Likuena camp on time, which led to his axe
Bantu striker, Litšepe Marabe, says it “pains” him that he is not in the national team preparing to fight-it-out in the Cosafa tournament scheduled for South Africa later this month.
Marabe—the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League top-scorer with 22 goals—told the Sunday Express that national team coach, Seephephe Matete, had not been entirely honest when he said the Bantu hitman was not in the squad because he had snubbed his call.
Matete last week told the Sunday Express’ sister publication, the Lesotho Times, that Marabe should understand that playing for the national team was a privilege that needed to be treated with the respect it deserved.
However, the free-scoring hitman said he would always respect such calls—and that there had been a communication breakdown which led to the “misunderstanding” with the veteran coach. Lesotho have been pooled alongside Tanzania, Madagascar and Swaziland in Group B of the regional tournament set for 17-31 May in South Africa’s North West Province. After this regional competition, Likuena would take part in the African Nations Championship, Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.
Marabe was a revelation in the just-ended season, and his goals helped Bantu end the season in second spot behind champions Bantu. However, the player had spent the previous season on the sidelines at South African first division side, Garankuwa United, after failing to get a work permit.
Yet despite the inaction, Marabe had made an impressive comeback and was favourite to lead Lesotho’s attack in the upcoming international assignments.
“Look my brother; I have been through a lot of pain because of football. There is no way that I could have refused the honor of wearing the national team colours at this point of my career,” Marabe said.
“What happened is there was a communication breakdown between me, Bantu and the national team. I was only told on a Tuesday by Bantu officials that I had been called-up for national duty, but I couldn’t make it to camp because it was already late. We were also preparing for our league match against LDF that weekend. The following day, I also had to go to Roma to sort out some personal issues and by the time I returned, it was too late so I decided to report to Bantu training instead as it was a bit nearer.”
The gifted left-footer said there was “no way” he could refuse a national team (Likuena) call-up as he still had a point to prove.
“I went to the national team training the following day and I gave the coach my side of the story and apologised for failing to make it on time. However, it seems he did not forgive me because I haven’t heard from him since that day,” said Marabe.
According to the striker, “misfortune” appears to dog him with regards to Likuena.
“I should say I am not very surprised although it is painful to be left out like this. I remember when we were supposed to play Angola in a Nations Cup qualifier last year, I was dropped from the team,” he said.
Marabe said he does not even know how he is going to explain to his father why he is not part of the national team.
“That is my other worry; how to face my father after this. You know he is very much involved in local football as he is an assistant coach at LDF. How do I explain it and make him understand that this is not an issue of indiscipline, but a simple communication breakdown?”
Marabe further said he was available “any time” to represent his country and should Matete change his mind, he would be ready to front the Likuena attack “with pride”.
“It is every footballer’s dream to play for his national team and I am no exception. I really need this chance as a player and all I can say is I will always be available anytime Likuena coaches need me.
“I still have to prove a point that I have what it takes to put on that jersey and represent my country with pride; that is the message I would want the nation to know because I did not mean to disrespect the coach by coming late into camp.”
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