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The sad reality of our football

by Sunday Express
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Moorosi Tsiane

BASOTHO have been raging with fury over Likuena’s dismal performance against Uganda in the back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifications.

Moses Maliehe’s outfit lost the match 3-0 on the 13th of this month in Kampala before going down 0-2 at Setsoto Stadium on Tuesday. On this basis, it is difficult not to understand the fans’ fury.

I understand that people were not happy with how Likuena played in the matches and honestly, I still think that was only the best they could give on that day given the shambolic preparations.

I have said this on numerous occasions, that there is no short cut to success and as a nation, if we really want to become one of the top footballing nations on the continent, we have to stop cutting corners.

The story of Lesotho’s football is more like that of gamblers where at some point they will get lucky and when luck eludes them they start losing.

It has always been the case with us, we will at times get so lucky and beat teams to the extent that Basotho’s hopes rise only for us to lose again when circumstances return to normal.

Likuena are in Group L alongside Cape Verde, Tanzania and Uganda. This is of the easiest groups our country has ever been drawn into for the past 10 years.

Like true patriots, we had hoped that this time around our national team would make history but we are slowly waking up from the dream.

Qualifying for the tournament doesn’t start on the field of play. It involves so many things which include among others, clear development structures and good administration which unfortunately the country lacks.

The story of Thapelo Tale who was lefty behind at the 11th hour because he did not have a valid passport is just one clear example of how bad our administration is.

A player gets called into the national team, trains for about three weeks and we only notice two days before the team leaves the country that he needs a new passport? However, I will leave it at that.

Until we know what we want to achieve and how it can be achieved then we will never qualify for any tournament and we will forever be restricted to COSAFA where teams field fringe players. From such a tournament, as was the case this year, you come back with a glimmer of hope after bagging bronze medals yet we are still far behind.

With this current crop of players this country will never qualify for any tournament and if it happens that they do qualify it will be just because of sheer luck.

Firstly, we need to know what we want as the country and how we can achieve all that.

I think it is time that LeFA calls in a consultant, someone of high expertise to study us as the nation, our strengths and weaknesses and what type of football can be suitable for us then after such study then we can start development.

Yes it is going to take lot of time but it will be worthy because we will see results after all.

I know LeFA may play the “no money” game once again but not so long ago the LeFA president, Salemane Phafane, said among his other achievements at the helm of the association is that LeFA has managed to be financially sustainable. So my question would be why are we always blaming the government for not giving LeFA money in time when they “are financially stable” and can use those resources to fund key developmental programmes?

After the match in Uganda, Likuena only arrived a day later than the visitors who chartered a plane while our players flew economy from Kampala to Johannesburg and had to endure a more than six-hour road trip to Maseru because the association did not have money.

For me this was just an excuse because Ntate Phafane has declared that LeFA is financially stable under his leadership. Why are they not using the money that they claim to have for the benefit of the team or at least for the sake of this nation if they think the players don’t deserve to be treated well?

Reporters and pundits have spoken out about the sad state of our football but unfortunately in most cases those who are in control have turned a deaf ear to their suggestions and rather accused them of having some “personal agendas” against LeFA.

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