A NASTY clash could be brewing between the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and the Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation Minister, Likeleli Tampane.
This after this week said it had taken umbrage at Tampane’s statement that she would not support the senior men’s soccer team if there were no players from her Senqu constituency, in Mokhotlong among its ranks.
Speaking on the sidelines of a December football tournament in Senqu #78 constituency, Tampane said she wanted to see players from her constituency being called up into the national team, Likuena.
If players from Senqu were not called up for the national team, then she would have failed as minister.
“These players are future Likuena players,” Tampane said during a news report broadcast on national television last week.
“And as minister of Sport, I will consider myself incompetent if players from my constituency cannot play for Likuena. I will not support Likuena if players from my place are not part of the team.”
And in response to the statement, LeFA this week released a statement expressing its shock at Tampane’s statement.
“LeFA wishes to express its disappointment and dismay at the statement made by Honourable Likeleli Tampane on national television, that she will not support the senior national team-Likuena, if players from her constituency in Mokhotlong are not selected into the team.
“The leadership of LeFA is extremely disappointed with the minister’s remarks and wishes to remind her that selection of players into the national teams is done only by the coaches and it is done purely on merit. The selection of players has nothing to do with ministerial constituency.
“We want to make the Honourable Minister aware that neither the coach nor LeFA will be blackmailed into calling players from the minister’s constituency into national teams in exchange for her support to the association and or the national teams. We want to remind her that she has an obligation as the Sports minister to support the national team players irrespective of the constituencies they come from.
“Political constituencies have no relevance at all when it comes to the selection of players. That is the sole prerogative of the national team coaches and their technical teams. In this regard, the coaches should do their job and will continue to do so totally without fear or favour and should not be intimidated by anyone including the Sports minister,” the statement continued.
Tampane told the Lesotho Times this week that she was unaware of the LeFA statement. However, she would respond once she received it. But even then, if LeFA wants a fight, she is ready to fight.
“I am not aware of the statement and it is difficult to respond to it but if LeFA has anything they want to discuss (with me) they know I am always available. If they wanted any clarity regarding my statement, they could have approached me.
“Now that they went on to release a statement without seeking any clarity, that means that there is a fight and I am ready for it,” Tampane said.
She also said her December statement should only be taken in the context of wanting to motivate youths in her constituency.