IT has been a disappointing few weeks for Lesotho’s soccer teams following a string of poor results which saw them getting booted out of different competitions in the first stages.
The senior national men’s team, Likuena played its back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers losing 1-0 to Benin away before drawing at home last month.
The results were a blow to Lesotho’s hopes of qualifying for its maiden AFCON finals as they are now sitting at the bottom of Group L with two points. Nigeria is at summit of the group toping the table with eight points while Benin is on second with seven points and Sierra Leone has so far collected three.
Likuena are left with two matches against Sierra Leone and Nigeria and for them to qualify, they will have to win both their matches.
The women’s national soccer team was thumped by Zambia (8-0) and Malawi (9-0) in the COSAFA Cup in Port Elizabeth. They conceded a staggering 17 goals in two matches without scoring once.
The men’s under-20 has also been knocked out from the COSAFA Cup after three losses (Mozambique (1-0), South Africa (7-0) and Zimbabwe (4-1).
League champions, Bantu have also been booted out of the CAF Champions’ League after losing 1-0 to Nkana of Zambia at home and also drawing nil-all in Zambia last Saturday.
For as long as I can remember, this has always been the case with our football and this puts things into perspective as far as the state of our football.
The million-dollar question is, what is it that needs to be done for our football to improve?
Is it a coaching problem? We have had different coaches both local and foreign for the national teams and the clubs but nothing has changed. It looks like South African Thabo Senong’s crop is facing the same challenges. Senong was appointed Likuena coach in August last year and has played nine matches. He has drawn six and lost three and is still without a win.
There is need for serious introspection at the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA). It’s time the leadership cracks the whip. Life cannot go on as if everything is normal. Some officials have been with the association for the two decades.
The association must engage experts from different sectors for a football indaba and do things right for a change. This is not a task for the secretary general (Mokhosi Mohapi) and his technical director (Leslie Notši) but the whole footballing fraternity. They must approach issues with all honesty.
The indaba must end with officials knowing what they must do, when and how. No one is taking any pleasure from the disastrous results that the national teams have been getting for several years. Ours is always a script of so near yet so far. It’s always a near miss year in year out and that must change.
The leadership knows what must be done and the earlier they hit the ground running the better. Time waits for no man, we must act and change our narrative.