Storm over Maliehe’s Likuena future

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Moorosi Tsiane

A STORM is brewing at the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) over the future of former coach Moses Maliehe.

This comes after Maliehe this week said he was still contracted by the association as the head coach despite the appointment of new coach Thabo Senong three weeks ago.

Maliehe has been on indefinite sick leave since May this year but it seems the writing was on the wall that LeFA was hell-bent on sacking him.

His illness deterred him from travelling to Durban for the team’s participation in the COSAFA Cup. Instead, the team was coached by assistants Mpitsa Marai and James Madidilane. LeFA technical director Leslie Notši oversaw the participation.

Notši was to be appointed interim coach soon after COSAFA and led the team in its historic back to back wins over South Africa in the CHAN qualifiers.

Three weeks ago, LeFA named former South Africa under-20 coach Senong the Likuena head coach. Senong has already led the team in its unsuccessful World Cup Qualifiers against Ethiopia.

However, Maliehe this week told the Lesotho Times that his contract was still running. He said had it not been for his illness, he would still have travelled with the team for its upcoming CHAN tie with Zimbabwe on Sunday and the second leg next month.

Maliehe admitted that the situation was confusing as he would have been around to lead the team had it not been for his health issues.

“It’s a confusing situation because I don’t think a team can have two head coaches,” Maliehe said.

“On paper I am still the coach and I was supposed to be with the team preparing for the CHAN trip to Zimbabwe.

“When Likuena played South Africa, it was clear that David Notwane was the coach for the CHAN team while Stuart Baxter remained the head coach of the team. Unlike in South Africa where the coaches have a bigger pool, in Lesotho we have a small pool. This means that we cannot have two different coaches working with the same pool of players.

“So, this is a confusing situation but like I said, I am still at home now and will wait to see what happens after CHAN.”

He also said there was a clause in his contract that suggests that his contract would be reviewed depending on how the team fares in the CHAN tournament.

“I am still on leave due to my health problems but I still have a contract which says I am supposed to be leading the team for the CHAN qualifiers. If there are going to be changes, maybe they will come after CHAN.”

However, even if LeFA were to sack Maliehe based on the performance of the team, it is likely going to be an uphill task given that he has no control over the side that is now being coached by Senong.

Maliehe also said they have never met with Senong to discuss matters to do with the team.

“He (Senong) is the one in charge now, so if he wanted to talk, I think he would have approached me but we haven’t talked as I am still on leave.”

LeFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi told the Lesotho Times this week that Maliehe was still their employee although they are yet to decide where to place him.

“He (Maliehe) is still part of the LeFA setup and we are just waiting for him to recuperate before we deploy him elsewhere.

“He was sick and we have to wait for him to recover. He was supposed to be part of the technical team in CHAN qualifiers but not as the head coach since Senong is now the coach,” Mohapi said.

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