Greetings from Rustenburg

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Mikia Kalati

The 2015 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) tournament got underway here on Sunday but beloved Likuena were only in action the following day, losing 2-1 to Madagascar.

Well, where do I start? We lost against a very weak Madagascar side that celebrated so wildly after the match as if they had won the World Cup.

Our team, Likuena, were the better side from word go and should have gone to the break leading 3-0 at least. However, they only managed a single goal through Thapelo Tale, and then allowed their opponents to roar back and win the tie.

I have always had a lot to say about our ever-declining football standards and I feel there is really nothing to add.

But still I would like to ask: What has gone wrong with our football that we cannot even beat a team like Madagascar, which is not a powerhouse at all?

Coach Seephephe Matete had his strongest possible team for Monday’s tie and the majority of the players have been involved in numerous World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before. Yet on Monday, this team failed to beat a very average side, which never takes its football that serious.

Lesotho went as far as bringing America-based Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho to the regional tournament, when other countries have brought very inexperienced teams to the competition.

So I ask again—where have we gone wrong as a country? Is it lack of commitment from the players or our coaching system, which could be seriously flawed?

Some fans back home might say they were not surprised with Monday’s result because the players were not convincing at all in the friendly they had against South Africa just before departing for this tournament. In fact, the ‘B’ team coached by Moses Maliehe which played the same Bafana Bafana two days later did a much better job, which is why I agree with them that some of the ‘B’ team members should have been here representing the nation because I am convinced they could have fared much better.

The bottom line is the current Likuena squad is poor in almost every department.

The defence is no longer that solid and conceded very soft goals on Monday.

I think it’s time we learn from countries such as Zimbabwe who have brought a completely different team to the one they had in Zambia in 2013.

For our country, they always come with a team of experienced campaigners, yet still disappoint, apart from the 2013 edition of the competition where we managed to get to the semi-finals.

Losing to Madagascar is really unacceptable and I expect the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) to crack the whip if this team exits this tournament in the group stage.

We cannot allow this kind of mediocrity to continue because this is really bringing the country’s name into disrepute.

It’s time we treat football with the respect it deserves and I will be watching the process close because I feel the whole country will be expecting Lefa president, Salemane Phafane and his committee, to react after such a tame performance.

I have supported Likuena for so long, but I have lost hope now, and joined those who say we should have sent the  younger lads who impressed against South  Africa last Saturday.

We have put too much trust in the likes of Bushy Moletsane, but it’s obvious they cannot perform any more.

Our players are the oldest in this competition and one would have naturally expected them to do much better. But on Monday, they really let our nation down and should be ashamed of that kind of display.

I guess the coaches are paying the price for being too loyal to some of these players, and leaving out those who have been  performing week-in-and-and-week-out at club level.

The fact that our two strikers, Thapelo Tale and Nkoto Masoabi, could not even manage five goals apiece the entire  2014/15 premier league season tells you that our hopes for success at this tournament  were misplaced.

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