National team needs mind-set shift
It is always disconcerting when the senior national football team loses a match, especially the humiliating 6-0 loss away to Algeria in their final 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group J qualifier on Sunday last week.
On this particular occasion, I was more disturbed, in fact angry with the players, over their attitude going into the match.
The drubbing came as no surprise, considering the prevailing conditions after the players staged a strike to protest non-payment of allowances ahead of the team’s departure for Algeria. The writing was already on the wall.
Holding Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) to ransom was really uncalled for.
I have sided with the players on many occasions when they fought for their allowances but not this time.
I think that for a long time we have been supporting mediocrity and it is about time we put an end to all that.
It is high time the players start to respect the football supporters and the nation at large and take their responsibilities seriously.
Only three months back, the same players were given about M13 000 each following their COSAFA tournament run which saw them reach the quarterfinals.
The fact is Likuena have never brought home any accolade by constantly failing to qualify for major tournaments – be it AFCON, World Cup or even the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The only competition they have played in is COSAFA and that is only because there are no qualifying matches, just automatic entry. Even then, our best performance was achieved way back in 2000 when we lost the final to Zimbabwe. We did reach the semi-finals in 2013.
That said, I have no problem with players fighting for their rights but even then, they should follow the right procedures instead of threatening not to fulfil matches as they did with the Algeria match.
Besides, this was one of those games where they were just playing for pride and to honour the fixture as we were already out of the qualification matrix.
Beating a star-studded Algerian side was always going to be an uphill task for our team full of amateur players and we certainly could have done without Likuena shifting their focus from the game at the last minute to fighting for money.
One can only wonder whether this was done deliberately to create an excuse for losing the match.
Speculation aside, that was really shameful and it is about time our players undergo a change of mind set.
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