THE Africa Cup of Nations roared into life in South Africa yesterday, amid the usual pomp and fanfare. Lesotho is not there. No surprise there. We have never been there and we are unlikely to be there in the near future. Likuena’s perennial failure is not for lack of trying. Every footballer wants to represent his country at the Africa Cup of Nations. Past and present Likuena players have tried their best to get Lesotho to the Africa Cup of Nations. They had the talent and ambition to get there. Sadly, those who are employed to help them get there have been throwing banana peels on their way.
The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) is the number one culprit in this regard. Take for instance the fiasco we witnessed during the qualifying stage of this competition. The association bungled Likuena’s trip to Sao Tome. The match had to be postponed because Lefa had failed to find flights to the island nation despite having known of the fixture months earlier. Someone at Lefa slept on the job and only started making travel arrangements a few days before the match. When the travel arrangements were finally made so disorganised was Lefa that it did not even secure foreign currency for the team’s allowances.
And as if that was not enough, after the match the team was stuck in Gabon after missing their flight to Lesotho. Sao Tome arrived in Lesotho for the second leg earlier than our national team which was stuck in Gabon. In previous years there have been fights over players’ allowances and bonuses. Crucial friendlies have been cancelled. The truth is we are not going anywhere if we have the current crop of leaders at Lefa. For years they have blamed our dismal performances on players and coaches. To them, it’s always some else’s fault. Time and again when Lesotho has faltered they have pointed fingers at our teams and coaches to explain our failure.
We have changed coaches and players but our fortunes have not changed. What we have not changed are administrators. The captains have repeatedly run the ship aground but they insist on clinging on to their jobs. It’s time they too “hit the highway”. We have wrong people in key positions. To understand this you only need to look at the pathetic state of our football.
Our so-called league is a joke. Efforts to professionalise the league have been painfully slow while cases of hooliganism at matches have increased at an alarming rate. Our football fields resemble potato fields and no one seems to care.
There are no efforts to take the game to the grassroots where talent is nurtured. The little sponsorship that has been trickling into our football is always in danger of running dry because Lefa has shown that it is incapable of managing the league properly. Vodacom, the league sponsor, has had their good name dragged into the mud because of Lefa’s bungling. To improve our football we have to admit that it is in crisis. Those at the top must admit that they have failed. If they don’t want to leave our football then they must be willing to do things differently.