LeFA courts foreign-based players for Likuena
LESOTHO Football Association (LeFA) is courting foreign-based players with Lesotho roots to represent the men’s senior national soccer side, Likuena.
The move is expected to boost the depth of the national team according to LeFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi.
Mohapi told the Lesotho Times this week that he has already spoken to six players about playing for Likuena. Four (a left back, a winger and two midfielders) are playing in South Africa’s First division. The other one, a centre back, is in the United States of America playing college soccer while the last one (striker) is in Portugal.
“I have so far talked to six players and they are interested in representing the national team,” Mohapi said.
“Once everything is finalised, we will reveal their names.
“There are also another two whom we are doing background checks on before we approach them.”
He said they are targeting to have at least four new players in the Likuena ranks once the side starts its COSAFA competition this year although the dates are yet to be finalised.
“There is no particular number set but we are hoping to get at least four new players who are based outside the country by the time we go for COSAFA.”
Another reason for seeking foreign-based players willing to align with Lesotho is to stimulate Likuena, most of whose players have proven to be deficient of the competitive edge in international assignments, Mohapi said.
“Yes, we have good players domestically who are dominating the local competitions because our national team is mostly made up of players from domestic teams. However, you can tell that some of them have reached their ceiling in terms of competition at international level and we need players playing elsewhere to help us.
“Some are also past their prime ages. We have been sending the same players for the COSAFA competitions while other countries are bringing in new players each time. We have therefore struggled to make a mark. This is why we are trying anew formula by getting players with more exposure.
“Yes, the coach (Thabo Senong) is trying to introduce younger players but it may take them longer to be ready to play at the highest level… It might be difficult to get the best right now but at least we will get those who have exposure and have played outside the country. We also need to increase our pool to ensure variety.”
If the plan works out, Likuena should be ready to make it into the COSAFA final in the next four years, Mohapi said.
“We are also trying to increase competition in the domestic leagues and ensure that various teams challenge for honours. We also have a serious problem because our best players cannot even make it into South Africa’s first division. This is why we need an injection of better quality into the national team,” Mohapi said.