National team caretaker coach Seephephe Matete is under fire for Likuena’s recent poor run.
Lesotho have since been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by minnows Comoros and on Sunday, lost 3-1 to Zimbabwe in the first leg match of the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier.
It’s only natural that the coach takes the blame when the team is not doing well, but I also feel Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) officials should also be held liable for Likuena’s struggles.
After all, these are the people with the final say in the appointment and dismissal of the coach and development of our football.
As much as Matete has had his shortcomings as Likuena coach, the LeFA executive should also take the blame for the rot that has become synonymous with the national game.
The deterioration of standards has been going on for some time now and I think it’s time the current football authorities did the honourable thing—which is making way for others to bring new ideas to the table.
I know the officials in question have this tendency of feeling disrespected when we talk about them in the media, but the facts are there to prove our football has been suffering under their leadership.
My worry is the leadership appears comfortable despite the mess our football finds itself in.
The bottom line is everything concerning our national team is very disorganised, to say the least.
For instance, the turnout of fans in recent Likuena matches has been very poor due to shoddy planning and marketing of the games by LeFA.
I think it’s time Ntate Salemane Phafane and his executive were honest with themselves and admitted all has not been well with the national team of late.
I know it is easy to blame the coach for the poor results, yet the truth of the matter is he is not the only one responsible for this mess.
It’s a fact our youth development has not been up to scratch and there is no consistency when it comes to producing young talent.
I mean, it was only a few years ago when a decision was taken to withdraw Likuena from international football and we were told this was to ensure an unhindered building process.
However, nothing has been achieved as far as that mission is concerned because we have failed to qualify for any major tournament and produce a new Likuena.
Instead, the team has suffered humiliating defeats against minnows such as Comoros and São Tomé.
The fact that the Comoros had never made it past the preliminary stage of any major tournament until they beat Lesotho on the away-goals rule last week, speaks volumes of how our football has suffered over recent months.
Likuena have become the laughing stock of African football once again, and the disappointing thing is our authorities are going about their business as if nothing is wrong.
We have always been told being a member of the LeFA executive is out of goodwill, and if that’s the case, then I don’t see why it should be a problem for Ntate Phafane and his executive to step down since they have failed to bring any positive change to our football.
I think the writing has been on the wall for years now but we simply didn’t take the message seriously and now we are paying dearly for it through Likuena.
Pundits have advised LeFA to have at least two national teams under different coaches so they could share responsibilities due to the many competitions Likuena are taking part in.
Since we already had a Likuena ‘B’ which showed so much promise against South Africa in a recent friendly match, it would have made sense to have this team take part in the CHAN tournament, for instance.
Likuena’s performance at the Cosafa tournament held in South Africa in July was equally a disaster, and the same team has since lost two Nations Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Algeria. Add the Comoros humiliation and hammering against Zimbabwe and you get a true picture of where our football really is.
Matete cannot be expected to carry such a heavy load on his own, and if our football officials really cared about their responsibilities, they would have realised this a long time ago, and done something to save the situation instead of waiting for the coach to fail and then sack him.
But it’s really not a surprise to me that our football continues to move in circles because it reflects an executive that does not have the love of the game at heart.