GREETINGS to you Honourable Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho. I’m penning this letter with a heavy heart following Likuena’s humiliating back-to-back defeats to Uganda in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Ntate, I believe you are aware what your counterpart, the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni and Tanzania’s John Magufuli, did for their national football teams in their campaigns to qualify for the continental competition to be staged in Cameroon next year.
The President of Uganda and his cabinet chartered a plane for the Cranes for their recent trip to Lesotho and also gave each member of their playing squad an incentive in the region of M70 000, which without a doubt played a big part in motivating them to complete a double over our beloved Likuena in the two matches played on 13 and 16 October respectively.
Honourable Prime Minister, it was humiliating to see Uganda touching down in our beloved Mountain Kingdom before the home team after the two countries had faced-off in the first leg of the qualifiers in Kampala.
To make it worse, the Cranes got time to rest and trained at Setsoto Stadium while Likuena players were still on the bus making their way back home after the trip to the East African country.
I am not even blaming the government for these shambolic travelling arrangements for our national team ahead of such an important fixture with Uganda, who had already registered a comfortable 3-0 victory in their backyard. However, all I’m saying is that the team and the incompetent Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), would have done better with a bit of help from the government to avoid such a humiliation and the struggles the team had to go through to get back home.
Honourable Prime Minister, the football fraternity made peace with the fact that Likuena will forever remain a laughing stock as long as we have the same leadership that has failed us on multiple occasions.
It is under the same leadership that the team has on several occasions got stuck in airports owing to shambolic traveling arrangements noticeable in 2011 when they suffered 1-0 aggregate loss to Sao Tome and Principe, who had never won an international match until they beat Likuena.
Of course, no one can forget that trip to Ghana where the team was also stuck at OR Tambo for hours and ended up landing in the West African country on the day of the match and were handed a 7-0 thumping by the Black Stars in 2013.
Despite the incompetence within most of these sports associations Honourable Prime Minister, lack of sports infrastructure has not made life easy for Lesotho to make any meaningful transformation like the rest of the continent.
So, my plea to you Honourable Prime Minister is for you and the government to change your approach towards sports for us to see any progress as a country. It could also help a lot if your government can ensure that all the companies that are making millions in this country also give back by sponsoring sporting activities.
Sports can play a big part if the fight against poverty in this country as is the case in other countries where athletes in different sporting codes are making a good living out of their God given talents. You alluded to this when I interviewed you prior to your re-election in 2017.
This country has proven countless times that it has the talent to compete globally and examples include moments like when Thabiso Moqhali won gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games Kuala Lumpur.
This is the same country that has produced athletes such as Thabane Sutu, who went all the way to play for an African powerhouse like Al Ahly of Egypt early in the 1990s.
The list is endless as we have also had the likes of Moses Kopo, Lehlohonolo Seema, Mosito Lehata and Lerato Sechele, who all did their country proud at the big stage over the last decade at different stages of their careers.
However, there are many other athletes that were as talented as these but failed to reach their full potential due to lack of resources and facilities to hone their skills.
Lack of proper playing grounds and stadiums to accommodate all sporting codes remains the biggest challenge in the Mountain Kingdom.
I strongly believe that through your influence and leadership, countries like China and others that have shown interest in helping Lesotho can also do the same for sports as they are doing in other sectors.
China is one of those countries, like the United States of America, that have always enjoyed a lot of success in multi-sports events such as the Olympics, where we have also failed dismally.
Since we they enjoy a good relationship with the Mountain Kingdom, I have a feeling that they would love to invest in sports infrastructure like they have done in the other sectors and can also bring their expertise into our country since they have the exposure.