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LeFA must self-introspect and do right by Likuena

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Moorosi Tsiane

LIKUENA once again failed to book a spot in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals after being held to a goalless draw by Sierra Leone at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday.

In the hope of qualifying for the 2022 edition of the biennial competition, the Thabo Senong-coached side went into the match anchoring Group L with two points from four matches and needed a win.

A win on Saturday and another on Tuesday against Nigeria would have bettered the team’s chances of qualifying. However, the draw had rendered the task of qualifying an impossible one.

This is an all too familiar narrative. We have played way too many qualifiers but have never qualified. Those who follow football know why Likuena has never qualified and may not do anytime soon. Its unfortunate that the powers that be are not doing anything to change it.

Yes, to a certain extent our government is to blame for our national teams’ poor performances particularly because different sports are all treated as a hobby and not a business. However, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) must also self-introspect.

Some will blame Covid-19 but then Lesotho is not the only country that is affected by the pandemic. In essence, it is one of the countries with the least infections to date although that may not be the only necessary measure.

Covid-19 cannot be an excuse when other countries that have even more stringent Covid-19 restrictions which hindered preparations for the qualifications have gone on to qualify. For instance, Zimbabwe’s primer league was last in action in 2019 but their national team, a depleted one for that matter, qualified with a game to go. The team’s last qualifying game against Zambia in Harare on Monday was just academic.

I think LeFA should start supporting national team coaches’ programmes all out. It is sad that coaches are made to sign confidentiality forms which force them not to speak out about issues that happen in the background.

Football supporters have been furious with Senong, rightly so because ever since his appointment in August 2019, he hasn’t won a single match.

To his defence, it never appears as if he has adequate support from the association. LeFA cannot continue using one formula while expecting different results.

Coaches have come and gone, the playing personnel has been changed over and over again, venues have been changed time and again but there are two constants, LeFA and failure.

Qualifying for AFCON is obviously no mean feat but it is doable with the right mentality and desire to progress. Lesotho has no resources, of course, but several other countries are also poor. We just need to get our priorities right.

If we do not do the right thing, then our national teams will remain punching bags and playing at continental level will forever remain a dream.

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