LeFA unleash young talent

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Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) is hosting a two week training camp for 44 youngsters scouted from all over the country.

The workshop began on Monday and will end next Friday and the youngsters mostly aged 15 are being groomed for the national under-17 side, Bahlabani.

The ultimate aim is to nurture them for the senior national team by 2024.

The camp is being overseen by under-17 head coach Halemakale Mahlaha, his assistant Shalane Lehohla, former Likuena goalkeeper, Tšepo Mathetha (goalkeepers’ coach), Naleli Tšilo, ( new head coach of the under-15 side) and his assistant, Mahlomola Matšoara.

Speaking at the unveiling of the team at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena this week, LeFA technical director Lehlohonolo Thotanyana said the project was aimed at reviving youth structures and developing future senior players by the year 2024.

“This initiative started in 2015 though it was not that successful as we failed to meet all our targets,” Thotanyana said.

“We wanted to give them international exposure by taking them to an international competition but that never materialised due to challenges we had.”

He said they hoped to get it right this time around by sending the youngsters to one of South Africa youth tournaments such as the Gauteng Future Champions or the Durban under-19 International tournament which attract top young sides.

“We have also roped in former national goalkeeper Tšepo Mathetha and we will send the team to two tournaments in South Africa next year.

“There will always be challenges here and there bit we will continue to work hard to achieve our goals with this group of players,” he said.

LeFA executive committee member, Motlokoa Mafantiri who is also a teacher by profession, said their aim was to have regular youth development programmes to nurture young talent countrywide.

“Our vision is to identify schools where these youngsters will housed and develop their talents as part of their curriculum.

“We would assist by bringing in coaches and soccer equipment and our proposal to the government was that they take care of the salaries of the people employed to oversee the project.

“We have a lot of coaches that are not employed and could be deployed to oversee such programmes,” Mafantiri said.

He said similar programmes had worked wonders for cricket and rugby in South Africa and Lesotho should follow suit in football.

The LeFA executive member also encouraged the youths to make full use of the opportunities handed to them by the association.

“We have a lot of kids with potential to play in South Africa and in big leagues abroad and make good money, but they have to know that it comes with a lot of work.

“We have three of our players at Moorosi High School that were recently invited for trials in South Africa including Liphakoe’s Tšepang Makapa who is being assessed by Golden Arrows in Durban.

“Makapa is a talented youngster who is committed to his career and I have no doubt that with his attitude he will succeed as a footballer,” he said.

 

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