MASERU — Sports Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono has ruled out giving bonuses to Lesotho’s Under-20s for qualifying for next year’s African Youth Championship in Libya.
She said bonuses for the players could only be considered after Makoanyane XI’s return from the tournament.
Yet every senior national team player was paid M8 000 for each of Likuena’s 2010 World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifiers.
And, needless to say, Likuena lost all the qualifying matches.
Lepono revealed the government’s position in parliament last week after MP Jobo Sekautu asked her to “shed some light . . . on the benefits and incentives awarded to Makoanyane XI for performing exceptionally well”.
The Under-20 side made the nation proud after edging Kenya 1-0 on aggregate to book their place among Africa’s best youth sides.
In earlier qualifying rounds, Makoanyane XI dispatched Mozambique and South Africa.
But the government will only consider rewarding them after the tournament in Libya next March, according to Lepono.
“Rewards come after the completion of a task, not before, and in this instance Makoanyane XI are still in the developmental journey,” the minister said.
“The benefits and incentives are determined by the performance of the players themselves.
“It is only after the tournament in Libya that people can decide what rewards they are giving to these players.”
Lepono said it was not just the government’s responsibility to reward the players for their efforts.
“Rewards/incentives may come from different sectors, being the government, private sector or non-governmental organizations,” she said.
“Rewards are not salaries that are predetermined but just a way of motivating people after good work.”
Lepono’s address has however been ruled offside by Likhopo team manager Qamako Mahao whose side provides the bulk of the national Under-20 players.
He told the Lesotho Times it was not the minister’s call to decide if players deserved incentives or not.
“The issue of players’ incentives is not dictated by the minister but the minister can only assist if she is asked to,” Mahao said.
“My humble understanding is that the (Lesotho Football Association) decides if the players deserve incentives and makes a request to the ministry.
“She is not the minister of soccer but the custodian of sports in the country hence she can’t decide to give players incentives or not.”
Matlama public relations officer Lesolle Phalatsi, whose side also provides a couple of players to Makoanyane XI, said the youth players deserved bonuses for making it to Libya.
“The boys have done a good job and the government should start with them especially because we want to move from our amateurish level to professionalism by 2014,” Phalatsi said.
“They should be given a pat on the shoulder, not the Sesotho way, but given something that will remind them of the good job they have done for the country.”