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Physical fitness key in football

Moorosi Tsiane

MEHALALITOE recently exited the AFCON qualifiers after suffering a 7-0 loss in aggregate at the hands of neighbours South Africa.

It was always going to be tough for our girls to beat their South African counterparts.

South Africa’s squad is dominated by players who are playing weekly in a more professional set up either in college leagues or in their SAFA Sasol Women’s League.

I do not want to lie here and say Mehalitoe played well because I will not be helping them. They were pathetic not only because they cannot play good football but Banyana Banyana were too huge a task for the girls given the exposure that they have.

The core of that team has competed in different competitions at junior levels and some were part of the under 20 side that made it into the 2016 Africa Union Sport Council (AUSC) finals in Angola.

Now that the qualifiers period has passed, the million-dollar question to our football mother body is what is the way forward?

Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) needs to start taking women’s football seriously and invest more money if it is to grow.

We have a national league played by eight teams and that alone entails that the national team coaches have a limited pool to choose from when they go for national duty.

It is also time that it becomes mandatory that Women Super League coaches have at least a CAF B license.

Our players were tactically too far behind Banyana Banyana and you could tell that even the coaching that they are used to is inferior.

It is only when we have a competitive league that we can have a good national team.

Secondly, our teams need fitness trainers. LeFA as well needs to have physical trainer for Mehalalitoe. It was clear in the games against South Africa that the players were unfit.

However, all is not lost as there are positives that we can take from the four qualifying matches that Mehalalitoe played against eSwatini first and later South Africa.

That experience and exposure that they gained will be vital going forward. The team needs to remain solid for longer and needs to play more friendly matches to enhance competition.

For me, Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies player, Boitumelo Rabale failed to come to the party.

Maybe, I had expected lot from her considering the level at which she is playing. Besides captaining the side to a national league title, she has been instrumental for Celtic for the past two seasons.

Injuries did not help her case in the matches against Banyana Banyana. However, besides her apparent lack of fitness, the difference in coaching styles from what she is used to at her club may have also come to her detriment.

In the first match she got injured in the first half but she pushed and managed to finish the game.

It happened again in the return fixture as she suffered cramps in first 10 minutes of the match.

That shows how intense the match was for our girls and LeFA seriously needs to provide a physical trainer.

I know we have people in the three security institutions who are willing do this for free and all LeFA has to do is ask for help.

Banyana Banyana kept the possession and for Mehalalitoe to chase the ball for 90 minutes was a big ask.

Better luck next time Mehalalitoe!

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