National team interim coach Seephephe Matete has welcomed the influx of foreigners into the Vodacom Lesotho Premier League.
Matete says the presence of good foreign players in the domestic league could only help improve the standard of football in the country.
Lesotho has seen an increase of foreign footballers in the premiership over the past three seasons, which has however, been condemned by certain sections of society which believe this impacts negatively on the national teams. The critics say the presence of foreign players limits locals’ chances of making it into the topflight league, and subsequently the national teams.
For the upcoming season which kicks-off later this month, Bantu have six foreigners on their books—three from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and three South Africans—while reigning league champions Lioli have one Cameroonian and one South African. Sundawana have four from Ghanaians and one player from Mali, while Kick4Life have two Congolese. The Sunday Express understands Matlama are trying out one player from South Africa but Matete says there is a good side to this interest in local football from outside the country.
“There are two sides to this situation; it is good to have foreigners in our league but the question is: are they the best we can have or just ordinary players because if they are extremely good, that means they will help our league and players grow, which then benefits our various national teams,” Matete said.
However, Matete noted it would be “nice” if the league could attract foreigners playing for their national teams, which would leave no doubt about their class.
“If these guys play for their national teams, then that would mean they are good and will definitely benefit our players and help improve our football. We should always be learning but again, we have to be cautious about it.”
Matete also said having good players from outside the country could help convince sponsors about the seriousness of the league, and persuade them to inject funding into the game. With more funding, players could concentrate on the game as they would turn professional, thereby further help bolster the national team.
“If our teams have very good players from outside the country, then this can only help us have a competitive league. And a competitive league would be good for our national teams. Sponsors would want to be associated with a serious league, so this is the brighter side to the issue of having foreign players in our league.
“Foreigners will make our own players work hard to be in the team, which is going to be good for the national sides.”