MASERU — Hooray! Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) president Salemane Phafane has spoken!
Alas! The largely reclusive football boss has said nothing!
Indeed, there was nothing substantive one could decipher from Phafane’s end-of-season address at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena on Tuesday.
Neither Lefa’s budget for the coming year nor the audit of the association’s books was mentioned.
There was also no report on the just-ended football season from the Lefa boss.
Instead, Phafane’s conference seemed to take more of a political-rally tone.
He rather found it proper to attack Lefa’s “detractors”, who include MPs Sello Maphalla and Libe Moremoholo who questioned the association’s decision to disband the senior national team for two years.
“They are people who know about the goalkeeper of Kaizer Chiefs and who don’t know who Leslie Notši is,” Phafane said in reference to Lefa’s critics.
Phafane once again harped on about Lefa’s reasons for not entering Likuena in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
He closed his two-hour sermon by saying the matter was closed.
“I’m putting it to rest. Those who want to revisit the issue can do it on their own. It is a closed chapter,” Phafane said.
Embarrassingly, neither Phafane nor any one of Lefa’s top brass present knew the identity of Likuena’s opponent in their final home 2010 World Cup qualifier.
Phafane, after consultation, said it was Libya when instead Lesotho lost 3-0 to Gabon in September 2008.
Even though this may seem trivial, it clearly shows how Phafane’s indaba was based on propaganda instead of helpful facts.
No mention, for example, was made of the Mohale Declaration, the roadmap signed in 2008 to help turn domestic football professional.
Lefa oversees the roadmap whose recommendations are far from being achieved.
Two weeks ago a progress report by the Premier League was sent to Fifa development officer Ashford Mamelodi in Botswana.
The report, seen by the Sunday Express, showed for example that only two Premier League clubs, Lioli and Lerotholi, had an office and full-time personnel despite this being a key demand of the Mohale Declaration.
Meanwhile, only four clubs have made any progress towards having youth development structures even though a nationwide youth league was supposed to have kicked off last year.
The Premier League’s report also shows that no progress has been made with regard to communication, marketing and medical matters.
Speaking at Tuesday’s conference, Lefa vice-president and Premier League chairman Tlholo Letete was similarly vague when quizzed about the absence of match assessors at league games.
“We had some financial challenges. Due to financial constraints we were unable to follow through on having match assessors,” Letete said.
“We have been able to play around with the budget and we will be able to tackle the issue (next season).”
Letete pointed to all league clubs’ compliance with the minimum requirements set to correspond with the Mohale Declaration where teams were asked to register 100 supporters, have eight marshals at matches, a rubber stamp, a revised constitution, a stretcher and a technical area with 24 seats.
In its report, the Premier League insists the Mohale Declaration has had a positive impact on local football saying: “There has been a remarkable performance of our clubs on the field as a result of our resolution to relegate four teams.
“There has also been an increase in the number of spectators coming to watch the game.”
However, serious problems which dog Lesotho football remain — not least the awful facilities in the country which are a major reason clubs are unable to collect gate-takings or attract sponsors.
Those issues along with plans to source funding, another key setback stated in the Premier League’s report, were not adequately dealt with at Phafane’s lengthy but underwhelming conference.