LAST Thursday the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that the 2022 AFCON qualifiers would resume in November this year.
The announcement means that the senior national team will have to be ready by then for their back to back matches against Benin before taking on Nigeria and Sierra Leone next March.
Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro last Thursday announced that the country was now lightening the Covid-19 regulations from the orange stage to purple. However, the said stage does not permit football activities along with other contact sports.
What worries me is that by the time the qualifiers begin, Likuena would still be unready due to lack of match fitness as local players last played competitive matches in mid-March when soccer activities were suspended.
Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) secretary General Mokhosi Mohapi has already said that their efforts to sit with and present their proposal to the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) have been fruitless. He alleges that they have written to NACOSEC countless times but have not received any responses.
This has led to Mohapi criticising NACOSEC on social media, and I don’t think that will help LeFA’s case.
While I understand LeFA’s frustration, but Mohapi’s actions will only perpetuate the frosty relations between the two bodies.
The unfortunate part is that while the two bodies are ignoring each other, football suffers the most. It’s the players who suffer the humiliation.
Likuena coach Thabo Senong has already expressed his worries because the teams that his side are playing have Europe-based players and have been active since June.
The infection rate curve has flattened according to the latest updates and with proper preparations and strict measures, I think football can return just like other sporting codes that have been given a go ahead.
I also feel that the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation must intervene.
Football plays a role in the country’s economy and whatever challenges are being faced must be resolved on time.
The differences, whether real or imagined, between NACOSEC and LeFA must be resolved. As it is, it is unlikely that Lesotho will qualify for AFCON because of the lack of proper preparations.
It is already late now because it is going to require at least four weeks for the domestic league teams to prepare for the new season and November is just around the corner.
Likuena are third in group L following their one-all stalemate with Sierra Leone and 4-2 loss against Nigeria last year.
Senong’s charges must at least finish second to qualify for the finals which will be staged in Cameroon in 2022.