LIOLI’S first-round exit in the CAF Champions League once again reminded us of the painful story of the beautiful game in our country.
It is really embarrassing that it has been two decades since a side from this country made it past the first round of the prestigious continental competition.
To me, the fact that four of our last representatives in this competition managed to win their home games, says we can do it with a little bit of proper planning for the away matches.
The last side to enjoy success in this competition was the Arsenal “dream team” coached by the late April “Styles” Phumo. That Arsenal team had a galaxy of stars, among them Likhetho “Microwave” Mokhathi and Litšitso “House on Fire” Khali.
But if Matlama managed to beat South Africa’s SuperSport in their home match in 2010, and LCS got the better of Zimbabwe’s Dynamos at home last year, and Lioli also won their home match against Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto on Sunday, then our teams are as good as any on the continent.
The problem therefore remains with the away matches, which I believe with proper planning, we could also win or draw, thereby progressing to the next round.
I had warned in this very same column before Lioli headed for Angola that although they have a very good side at their disposal, my worry was with their preparations leading to the first-leg match, which they lost 2-0.
Unfortunately, this was ignored as always. Lioli were representing Lesotho in this competition and had the management of the club and Lefa teamed up for a better cause, then maybe, we could be telling a different story right now.
The Lioli defeat was really painful and I feel it also had to do with ignorance from our club bosses and of-course Lefa, who have to steer this ship as our football mother-body.
I believe a soccer indaba to find answers to our clubs’ and national team’s failure in international competitions should have been convened a long time ago.
Two decades is just two much for me.
We still have many of the players who were part of the Arsenal success story.
Some of these former Arsenal players are now taking different roles within the structures of our football and I believe they would be able to assist and share the secret of their success in those days.
This is where I feel that the position of technical director comes in. It is a matter of fact that this office was not well-functioning over the last seven years.
This is why I’m going to make a passionate plea to the Lefa bosses to appoint the right man for this position.
The appointment should not be influenced by football politics, but made on merit.
Personally, I feel there are a few candidates with the right qualifications to take this position, which requires someone who commands a lot of respect within our soccer circles and with the right credentials.
Our football is in a crisis and desperate for change. I’m confident the Lefa NEC will handle this position with the respect it deserves.
I even feel that the association should have long taken advantage of the once healthy relationship we had with the English Football Association.
There is no doubt that England has some of the best football administrators.
Of course, their national team has struggled to do well in major competitions in recent years, but the fact remains their league is one of the best, if not the best, in the world and also doing well financially.
I feel that Lefa, as the mother-body as well as the Premier League Management Committee, should take the blame for our clubs’ continued failure in continental assignments because they can only be as good as our league.
Now gentlemen, let us go back to the drawing board and serve the football game with the honesty and respect it deserves.