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Time to build on Likuena’s good run

CONGRATULATIONS to Likuena for making it to the group stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
For a team that has not played competitive football in three years, this is no small achievement.
That is why Leslie Notši and his players have reason to be proud.
Likuena can now look forward to competing alongside Ghana, Zambia and Sudan next year.
However, this success does not mean we should rest on our laurels.
We should not fool ourselves thinking we are ready to conquer the world.
Making it to the group stages is just a foundation upon which we must build.
So far the decision by the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) to suspend Likuena last year and focus on Lesotho’s national youth teams seems to have been vindicated.
But more now needs to be done to consolidate the gains thus far and sustain the momentum.
Of course we might never make it to the World Cup in Brazil.
Yes, we might be massacred by Ghana and Zambia.
Yet these not-so-encouraging prospects must not shift our focus from the long term goal of developing the game of football in this country.
The truth is that as long as we put our house in order we stand a decent chance of beating the best in Africa.
To do this we must deal with the fundamental problems that have hindered the growth of our game.
First, we must work on our infrastructure like stadia and other training facilities.
Lesotho won’t go anywhere playing on stadia that resemble potato fields.
The government must invest in football facilities.
Together with the infrastructural development, there must be more investment into grassroots football.
Talent identification has to start from schools and that requires training more teachers to be football coaches.
When this talent is identified it needs much better nurturing and monitoring.
This is where football teams can help with their junior programmes.
Lefa should encourage investment into football academies.
Better management of the top-flight is also desperately needed.
On average premier league clubs are run on debt and are only kept afloat by well-wishers.
Players are not insured or paid and the majority fend for themselves.
To get better funding our teams must be run professionally.
They must strive to be better run institutions that adhere to proper corporate governance principles.
Football administrators have contributed significantly in scarring away potential investors.
Vodacom Lesotho, which has given generously to football, is not happy with the current chaos in the league.
Since they came into football all they have had are problems that damage their good image.
If fans are not fighting then they are harassing match officials.
The teams themselves fight over gate takings or can’t control their fans.
We can only professionalise our football if we invest in building good relations with potential sponsors. It’s not like we don’t have the guidelines.
The Mohale Declaration is there. But three years after its signing it’s hard to say where we are.
The roadmap is there but there is just not enough commitment.
The time to change our football is now.

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