Uphill task for Lioli

MASERU — Defending Premier League champions Lioli who are expected to represent the country at this year’s Confederation of African Championships (CAF) are facing an uphill as financial constraints threaten their success at the conti­nental showpiece.

Lioli are expected to clash with Angolan side Premiro de Agosto away from home in a first leg en­counter of the CAF preliminary stages set to resume on the first weekend of February. The second leg match will be played on home soil on February 16th.

The Teyateyaneng side’s Commu­nications and Marketing Manager, Moeketsi Pitso confirmed to the Lesotho Times yesterday that they were indeed struggling financially as they prepare for the continental competition.

He said however, that they would definitely make it to the tourna­ment since all the travelling costs were covered by national soccer-governing body the Lesotho Foot­ball Association (Lefa).
According to Pitso, the team had not been able to prepare for the competition in a manner fit for a team to compete with the best in Africa.

He said the team had only been to a high performance training fa­cility in Bloemfontein just once with most of their international friendly games failing to materialise.
The defending league champi­ons had two friendly matches lined up against South African premier league giants of Super Sport United and Mamelodi Sundowns but the two could not take off due to lack of sufficient funding.

“It is true that the team is strug­gling with monies for preparations to the competition and we had two friendly matches lined up but things did not go as we had planned so we had to cancel on the elev­enth hour. The little we have we use it to pay players salaries,” Pitso said.

Pitso said that the side had writ­ten to a number of local companies soliciting sponsorship only to be told that they could not be helped due to tight budgets.

However Pitso said they were trying all they could to make sure that they turned things around.
He said they had managed to se­cure an international friendly with South African side Free State Stars whom they will be visiting today, adding that they hoped that things would change so that the matches against Super Sport and Sundowns happen before they depart to An­gola on February 5th.

“I cannot really say we are sat­isfied with how everything went but the supporters also promised to hold a music festival as part of fund raising for the team,” said Pitso.

Meanwhile Lefa secretary gener­al, Mokhosi Mohapi said their role as the national soccer association was to assist the local team with registration for the tournament as well as availing facilities for camp­ing.

He also said the association was tasked with paying for accommo­dation costs for the visiting team when the local team hosted with the same expected of the “other country when they host us”.

Lioli will start a three weeks camp at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena from January 27 which will end after the second leg of the pre­liminary stages has been played.

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