THE senior national football team failed once again in their quest to finally clinch the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup after they suffered a 3-4 semi-final loss to Zimbabwe in Rustenburg, South Africa on Wednesday night.
Affectionately known as Likuena, Lesotho started this year’s tourney in the quarterfinals and this was on account of their good showing at last year’s edition where they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by eventual winners, South Africa.
The Moses Maliehe-coached outfit booked their semi-final spot after prevailing 5-4 on penalties against 2015 champions, Namibia.
I am very disappointed with our team’s performance at this year’s tournament and I am of the view we are just stuck in the same position and going around in circles.
We showed glimpses of improvement last year and one would have thought that we would perform much better this year but alas it is the same old story!
I have said this before and I will continue saying it until we find our own identity in terms of playing style.
As long as we do not do that, our clubs and the national team will always struggle.
This can only be achieved by creating clear development structures where the chosen national style will be instilled in players from an early age.
This is something that the world powerhouses such as Italy, Brazil, France and Germany have done and continue to do and it is certainly working well for them.
I have seen how on several occasions, the lack of an established style of playing, has left our players confused by different tactics of our national team coaches.
This has caused us to lose even in instances where we had a good chance of winning.
I will use our last two COSAFA matches as an example of how we used two different styles in the same tournament.
In the match against Namibia we concentrated on defending and that gave our opponents too much space and time to come to us and we were just lucky not to concede.
Against Zimbabwe’s ‘Warriors’ we focused on attack and left our defenders exposed hence we shipped in four silly goals.
Some may say that the style is often fashioned out of an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition but even then, the players need to understand their roles in any match.
This should also be implemented at clubs as they also have a responsibility to nurture players since they spend more time with them than the national coaches do.
It is only when we have proper structures and a national football philosophy that we can finally by be a force to reckon with. But if the coaches don’t start working together to achieving this mission, we will remain the whipping boys.