What next for Likuena after Af­con fail­ure?

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

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.

likuena go­ing through their paces be­fore match against bark­ina Faso

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