Likuena drubbing should be a wakeup call



Mikia Kalati

OUR senior national soccer team, Likuena suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Algeria on Sunday in the final match of their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

To be honest, I did not expect Likuena to beat the Desert Foxes in their own backyard given how prolific the North Africans have been over the last two years.

They are certainly not the top-ranked team on the continent for nothing since they boast a very talented squad including Leicester City’s Riyadh Mahrez. The winger has been in top form for Leicester City and played a prominent role as the club shocked the world in winning the English Premier League title during the 2015/16 season.

Nevertheless, a 6-0 drubbing at a continental level is still humiliating.

We played the same team at Setsoto Stadium last year and it took a moment of brilliance in the dying minutes by Mahrez to seal a 1-3 victory for the visitors.

To cut a long story short, I think our boys were not just up to the task especially given the team staged a mini strike before departing for Algeria.

Ultimately, it would appear they only went to Algeria for the sake of honouring the fixture to avoid being banned or suspended.

The fact that Likuena had already conceded two goals in the opening 20 minutes speaks volumes about the state of the players.

Going into the match with an unhappy squad was always going to be a recipe for disaster.

This was not the first time a walloping of this magnitude has happened. We were in a similar position in 2012 and ended up being humiliated like we were on Sunday, losing 1-7 to Ghana in Kumasi.

As far as I remember, this issue of players striking before important games goes a long way back and is likely to continue to haunt our national team for many more years to come. That is because our football administrators seem unable to find solutions.

History has it that every time our players have gone on strike, Likuena have generally performed very badly.

Sadly this state of affairs keeps playing out every qualifying campaign be it the World Cup or for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Unless there are changes in the administration of the beautiful game and sports in general, I am afraid we will always be the whipping boys of the continent.

Ours is the only country that can go to three editions of the Olympic Games under the same leadership and maintain the status quo even if there is always nothing to show for it.

The same is true for Likuena. We have been participating in qualifiers for so long, but have never come close to qualifying and the team is always in shambles with every qualifiers.

This is just too much of a humiliation and I wish our administrators will see the need to step down and give others with fresh ideas a chance to turn things around.

Perhaps a change of personnel as far as the leadership is concerned might work wonders for our sports associations.

I saw it work for Egypt a few years ago where, after the Mighty Pharaohs failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, the whole committee stepped down and made way for new ideas and concepts.

This could just be the right tonic for the likes of Lesotho National Olympic Committee and the Lesotho Football Association.

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