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The bittersweet taste of our football


Moorosi Tsiane

Worried, frustrated, angry and excited all at the same time is the best way to describe my current state of mind regarding Lesotho football.

I can see how desperation for office is driving some people to sacrifice what is good for the nation on the altar of their selfish ambitions, with the rest of us having to pay the price for the gluttony.

I’m frustrated by my failure to get the local football family and Basotho at large to see the bigger picture of what is going on in the administration of domestic football and how the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) is stifling the game’s development and railroading our beloved sport to a dead end.

At the same time, I am angry with myself for allowing all this to get to me when I could easily look the other way, as most people are simply doing, focus on my life and let Lesotho football continue to rock and roll the way it has been doing for so many years most people don’t even care to remember. After all, it is not my father’s property, so why bother, I am tempted to say.

Yet the very unfortunate, or let me rather say, sad part is that I can’t do that because I owe the game and my country so much to take this easy way out.

Like most Basotho boys, I also played the beautiful game from an early age until I decided to  follow a different career-path due to this cancer of maladministration that seems to be continually haunting our football.

It became very clear to me that I should rather focus on something else instead of wasting my time on soccer when it was very clear that it was being run by people who wouldn’t give a foot whether it progressed or simply died a natural death, if you could forgive me for the cliché.

Just look at it this way for a second: we  have some ex-players who were great on the pitch both at home and abroad, and the question I would like to ask is why have they not been put into the system by Lefa?

Why can’t Lefa put these proven football minds to good use, instead of ignoring them as if they don’t exist?

Why would Lefa turn these heroes into beggars instead of employing them in portfolios that would benefit our game because there is dire need for their expertise both on and off the field of play, which the current executive and employees are failing so dismally to fulfill?

For instance, there are development structures in our football that can best be served by people who really have the passion for the game not charlatans who only use it to line their pockets.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder how former players allowed themselves to be sidelined to the extent that they are not even acknowledged for what they did for their country when they were playing for the national team for almost no financial reward.

A solid administrative foundation that can stand the test of time requires the unique experience of ex-internationals, and these are essentials and invaluable assets that money and patronage cannot buy.

That’s why I am angry. The question that always haunts me is what can I do to stop the rot?

The present system of football administration does not give special room or opportunities to former players, and that drives me absolutely nuts.

I see dark clouds hanging over our beautiful game because of certain individuals who will not leave office simply because they are selfish, and continue imposing themselves on the people not for the love or passion of the game as they would shamelessly want us to believe.

I still see that our football administrators are eager to act quickly rather than cautiously, which unfortunately, is not for the long-term good of the game but rather its gradual decline and then total collapse.

A good example is the recent exclusion of senior players for standing up for their rights before the return leg of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Angola.

Unless someone can come out and give a clear explanation as to why Bushy Moletsane, Motlalepula Mofolo, Ralekoti Mokhahlane, Tšoanelo Koetle,Thabo Masualleand Tšepo Seturumane were dropped from the squad that was to play the last two most important encounters of the continental qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Gabon, then I would have to believe this was clear victimisation for their demand to be paid living wages.

These players had been very instrumental in the qualifiers—starting with the knockout stage in which they beat Liberia and Kenya—but found themselves on the sidelines after asking Lefa to pay them M5000 each instead of the pitiful M600 the association was offering them.

At least Koetle and Seturumane were recalled to the team a few days before the Burkina Faso match last week, and the question is why call them back if, like the coach had claimed when axing them, he was building a new team.

My advice to Lefa is this: don’t take the short cut because it not always the best route no-matter the situation. You would rather go the long but prescribed course because that way, no matter how long it takes, everyone would be satisfied that issues were handled the right way even if the results might not be that satisfactory.

On a positive note, I am excited that regardless of the generally poor administration of our game, some teams in the Premier League are doing extremely well and promising that maybe the amateur days of our game could soon be finally over.

Bantu, Lioli and Likhopo have set some lofty standards as far as sourcing sponsorship is concerned and hopefully, the other teams are going to follow suit and ensure there is enough money in the game to take it to the much-needed professional level.

Those who have ears, let them hear.

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