Poor administration’s our greatest undoing
OUR Lesotho Times sister publication reported last Thursday that Lioli midfielder Tumelo Khutlang’s anticipated move to South African First Division outfit, Mthatha Bucks was dead in the water.
The left footer joined Bucks’ pre-season camp in Durban, South Africa just days after featuring for Likuena in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Comoros.
He had caught the eye of the Eastern Cape side’s officials during the regional COSAFA Cup tournament hosted by South Africa in Rustenburg.
Although, Khutlang was one of Likuena’s standout players in Rustenburg, sources close to Mthatha Bucks told the Lesotho Times that the club’s coach, Ian Palmer, was against signing the Lesotho international as he was not impressed with the Tse Nala forward during their pre-season training.
Sadly, Khutlang added his name to a long list of local players who have tried their luck in foreign leagues only to return home empty-handed.
He is the second during this off season to return from unsuccessful trials in South Africa, after Liphakoe midfielder Tšepang Makapa who tried his luck at premiership side, Golden Arrows.
Makapa has since started training with Liphakoe in preparation for the new domestic season.
While we were all happy that Khutlang caught the eyes of Bucks scouts and was invited to the team, I remained worried fearing a deal might not materialise as has been the case with so many of our players.
This has been going on for far too long and it will not end any time soon as long as our football administrators fail to address issues that have kept the level of our football in the lower rungs.
I have said this and I will say it again that the level of Lesotho football remains below par and until the football mother body and all stakeholders do things right and address this issue we will never see the end of such embarrassing scenarios.
We need a more professional approach to doing things and we need more sponsors coming into football. We need proper development structures. We even need football academies that can develop talents. We even need scouts and agents to market our players.
Without these structures, we will continue suffering the ignominy of our best players failing to make the grade even at lower division South African sides.
There is no doubt that Khutlang is one of the best in our league and as a Lesotho citizen who loves to see local players succeed, I was happy that the former Likhopo attacker was invited to trials in a country with more advanced leagues than ours.
He is among players who will be contesting for the Player of the Season after his outstanding performance last season.
But the mere fact that one of our best fails to impress in South Africa’s lower divisions just tells the story of how far behind we are in terms of producing international standard players.
Bantu forward, Litšepe Marabe, and LMPS defender, Nkau Lerotholi, also saw their hopes of moving to South Africa flop two and three seasons ago.
The duo had been linked with Garankuwa United where Marabe spent the whole 2013/14 season watching from the stands as he was not registered ostensibly because of problems getting a work permit. This would be the same scenario with Lerotholi a season later.
Save from Teele Ntšonyana, Lehlohonolo Seema and Lebajoa Mphongoa, securing contracts in South Africa has proved problematic for our players.
I once had a chat with the legendary Ntšonyana who cited poor development strategies as the cause. We will continue having this problem unless and until we prepare players from the early stages.
The poor performances by our national team and club sides in continental competitions is proof that we are not yet.
Let our football administrators be advised accordingly.