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Should we dream of Afcon 2015

by Lesotho Times

likwenaBy Mikia Kalati

Likuena on Sunday ended their 2014 World Cup qualifiers on a high note beating Sudan 3-1 in a victory described “as a shock win” which could also be the team’s first ever away win in over four decades.

Well, you can forgive our fourth estate colleagues from South Africa and other countries that used this headline as it has been a while since the Lesotho team had registered victory away from home in a World Cup qualifier.

Nonetheless, we are very proud that our team has followed an impressive performance at the July Cosafa Cup with another sterling display but this time it was at a bigger stage and it seems to have not only stunned the Sudanese, but the whole of the African continent.

Lesotho started the campaign with a 7-0 loss to Ghana and it has been a while since our national team have come with an important victory in such an important fixture.

This is the same Sudan team that reached the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 and had beaten former African champions, Zambia in the opening match of the qualifiers, only for the results to be overturned by the continental football governing body after the East African country had fielded an ineligible player in that match.

My point here is the team could have done much better had it not been for those shambolic travelling arrangements that saw the team arriving in Kumasi less than four hours before the match kicked off.

A lot of damage was done in Kumasi and it was always going to be an uphill task to improve the confidence of the players after such a heavy defeat.

The team also left the country under a dark cloud during that trip to West Africa as players were involved in a bitter allowances row with the association that saw midfielder maestro, Motlalepula Mofolo, controversial booted out of the team on the eve of the trip.

Leslie Notši and his team continue to prove over and over that they could stand their own against the best in the continent if and only if they are backed by people interested in improving football in the country.

I’m also impressed by the fact that the team was without key members of the squad Ralekoti Mokhahlane and Mofolo which proves that there is depth in the team.

My worry is that we will be expecting a lot from this team going forward, but as always we are going to be let down by poor administration and football politics that seem to be dominating sports headlines almost all the time.

A lot of football fanatics feel that Likuena is finally ready to challenge for a spot to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Let’s face the facts, a lot has to change in the way that our football is being run at the moment.

If Lefa will complain of being broke every year then there is no way that we can expect Likuena to qualify for major international tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup

Football is now a global industry worth trillions of dollars and still growing and that means if the current football leaders cannot attract sponsors then they should make way for new faces that can bring new policies and ring changes that will improve the structures of our football.

This means arranging friendly matches for the team to be tested against continental big guns like Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

I watched the current transfer situation involving some of our top players with keen interest and the likes of Thapelo Tale, Thapelo Mokhehle, Mohau Kuenane, and Tumelo Khutlang have caught the attention of a number of South African clubs.

The fact of the matter is that our players can become better with competition, facilities and motivation that comes with the money offered by the better leagues across our borders.

Yes, no one cares about the wellbeing of our players. A player like Kuenane has served Lioli well and deserves a new challenge somewhere else in order to make a better living through his God given talent considering that the player is at the peak of his career.

I am sorry to say, but where is the ambition in our country?

I mean, a player like Tšepo Lekhoana had improved playing in the lower divisions of South Africa including a spell with Maluti FET College last season and bringing him back to our league is for me, a step backwards for a player who has shown so much potential over the last year in the national team colours.

I’m not even saying international clubs should come to our country to get players for free.

Our teams have spent monies developing these players through their youth ranks and should get something out of them to develop others who have shown the same abilities to become good football players.

But, it can only happen if clubs take an initiative to show players the right way to live their dreams of playing professional football as we continue to struggle to turn professional in this country.

Players everywhere in the world have agents, personal doctors, Public Relations managers, and contracts with kit makers, clothing lines, fragrance and sun glass deals, they have enforcement deals worth billions of dollars, and they have personal schedulers, accountants, business managers and tax consultants.

It is my dream to see the local lads enjoying these luxuries that come with being a professional football player, but I’m sorry I do not see it happening any time soon if we continue to operate the way we are doing.


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