LESOTHO’S senior national football team suffered one of their humiliating defeats this past weekend losing 0-2 to Comoros in the first leg of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Likuena could still salvage their pride by beating the islanders 3-0 to get to the next phase of the competition this Sunday.
I understand the frustration of the supporters because Comoros, who only became a member of the Confederations of African Football (CAF) in 2003 and FIFA member in 2005, are minnows of African football.
While football has always been a game of surprises, we should try by all means not to get whipped by lowly footballing nations because it hurts our image.
It is already difficult for Likuena to secure friendly games against continental big boys and with such results, it can only get worse.
The defeat comes after a very promising two years where Likuena reached the quarterfinals of the regional COSAFA Cup in 2016 and went a step to the good this year by reaching the semi-finals.
The team’s good performance in the regional competition earned them a bye which enabled them to start this year’s competition in the knockout stages along with the other regional big boys.
This showed that we had grown as a footballing nation.
However, all that could be undone and the loss to Comoros could actually take us backwards.
But coach Moses Maliehe and his charges still have their fate in their own hands and prevent the nation from backsliding.
Likuena not only have to beat Comoros on Sunday but they must do it convincingly to get to the next phase of the qualifiers and redeem our pride.
The team went reportedly went through hell at the hands of the Comoros FA who reportedly failed to provide them decent meals and training facilities ahead of the match.
But that should not be an excuse as it is common in African football where countries and clubs have long used dirty tricks to unsettle their opponents.
I blame the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) for not doing their part to ensure that everything was in place for Likuena to focus on the field of play without off the field distractions.
LeFA should have known better to prepare for such incidents.
They should take a leaf from countries such as South Africa who have individuals tasked with ensuring that all the logistics are in place before their national teams fly out for international matches.
Such officials travel in advance to identify the best accommodation and training facilities as well as meals.
Why LeFA cannot do the same is something I will never understand.
Despite all that, we remain hopeful that Likuena will do everything to win and progress at Comoros’ expense.
The Sunday game is the perfect platform for both LeFA and the Likuena players to win back the nation’s trust.
We just cannot afford to be knocked out of this competition by Comoros like they did in 2015 when Likuena was under the stewardship of Seephephe Matete which ultimately cost him his job.