MASERU –– Likuena coach Zavisa Milosavljevic has lamented the constant absence of his foreign-based stars –– captain Lehlohonolo Seema, Bokang Mothoana and Moitheri Ntobo. All haven’t featured for the national side since the conclusion of the 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last October.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times this week Milosavljevic cited their absence as harmful to his squad’s discipline.
“It’s a very big problem because they are professionals and they can show the other players how to behave. They are a good example,” Milosavljevic said.
Milosavljevic’s comments came after Likuena held Zimbabwe to a one-all draw in an international friendly in Harare last week.
However the trip was preceded by the expulsion of three players –– Thapelo Mokhehle, Motlalepula Mofolo and Teboho Sehloho –– from the team after they escaped camp for a late night drinking binge the Saturday before the game.
Although Milosavljevic expressed disappointment at the episode he was supportive of the boozing trio.
“They have our support, we (Likuena management) will talk and decide what we do with the players,” he said.
“It is not LEFA’s job to teach the players manners or how to behave,” Milosavljevic added. “It is the job of their clubs and their coaches to guide them properly. (But) if there is one bad apple he can spoil the other players.”
Lesotho’s national ranks have been blighted by ill-discipline. Last December at the COSAFA Under-20 Championships in Kimberley, two Lesotho players were found to have stolen tracksuits from their South African counterparts. And in June last year two Likuena players were dropped due to drunkenness before a 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Libya.
Last week’s off-field shenanigans overshadowed a good performance by Lesotho in Zimbabwe.
The draw was Likuena’s fourth of the year, in five games, and their third away from home after two 1-1 draws in Swaziland in June. Worryingly though Lesotho took the lead in all three encounters but failed to hold on for a win.
“We are competitive but we are not physically ready to compete for the whole game. In each game we scored first and played well but the opponents equalised in the last minutes,” Milosavljevic said.
“We played five games and we lost only one but we still have a lot of work to do on finishing and other basics like passing. That is the biggest problem for Likuena,” he added.
Milosavljevic also expressed disappointment over the physical state in which players arrived at camp. The bulk of his squad were preparing for the MGC Supa 8 tournament with their clubs.
“I’m not satisfied because the players were without fitness and proper preparation,” Milosavljevic said. “The national team is crucial and we should look after the interests of the team, (but) they came very tired and without concentration. Their teams pushed them too hard for preparations for that tournament.”
Next port of call according to Milosavljevic is to arrange more friendly games. “We need more international games and camps,” he said. “We have to get used to international standards.”