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What next for Likuena after Afcon failure?

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

It’s back to square one for the national football team, Likuena, after failing to secure their first qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

Likuena ended the 2015 Afcon campaign with four losses and two draws, anchoring Group C topped by Gabon, with Burkina Faso as runners-up and Angola in third place.

We all had high hopes that this was the year that our team was finally going to qualify for the prestigious continental competition after some promising performances in the knockout stage, in which they booted out Liberia and Kenya, who, on paper, had looked better than our team.

Lesotho’s campaign ended with a disappointing 2-4 loss to Gabon in Libreville last week—their third loss in a row and an unfortunate turn of events for this one-promising side.

However, there were some positives from that match because for the first time in the group stage matches, Likuena scored two goals in a single tie.

Tšepo Seturumane put away both goals—the same player who was only called back to the team at the 11th hour after walking away from camp two matches before following a fallout with the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) over allowances.

A lot has been said about this matter and I feel I do not have to repeat it over and over again because it has become a boring topic already.

My point here is we have a group of young players who, if handled with care, are going to make our team even better when the 2017 Afcon qualifiers begin.

All I can say is unless Lefa, and of course our teams, start paying players reasonable salaries, then we should forget about qualifying for major continental competitions.

I cannot blame the coach for the disappointing performance in the last four matches of the campaign because it was really hard for him to get the team going after the bonuses row.

After the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) announced last  weekend that the Cosafa  Challenge will be returning next year while there is also the African Nations Championship (CHAN), some serious planning will be required from Lefa to make sure that our team takes part in the two competitions.

These are the two competitions most countries have used to give young players international  exposure and I think we should also follow that trend.

There are many good prospects in our league who are the future of our national team if given the right guidance and support by Lefa and every other stakeholder.

This is very simple; if the current leaders of our football cannot get sponsors, they should just do the honourable thing and make way for fresh faces who will, hopefully, bring positive change to the game.

I think it is unacceptable that the association will go on and on telling us that they do not have money to pay players.

I believe many will agree with me that it was a painful and frustrating campaign for, not only the players, but the football fraternity at large and it will take an honest man to admit that something is not right within our football structures.

The whole situation deserves honesty from those occupying top seats at Lefa headquarters.



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