Leg­end laments state of lo­cal foot­ball

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

LIKUENA leg­end, Teele Ntšonyana, says lo­cal play­ers fail to make it in for­eign leagues be­cause of poor devel­op­ment poli­cies and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion at both club and na­tional level.

Ntšonyana made this re­mark af­ter Bantu signed na­tional team (Likuena) for­ward katleho Moleko from South African First Di­vi­sion side Garankuwa United, last week. Moleko had not en­joyed much game-time since join­ing the Pre­to­ria-based out­fit at the be­gin­ning of the cur­rent sea­son when for­mer Le­sotho coach, Les­lie Notši, was still the team’s head-coach.

Bantu striker Litšepe Marabe, Mat­lama de­fender Nkau Lerotholi and Likhopo striker Thapelo Tale have also failed to make the much-needed moves to for­eign clubs due to one rea­son or the other.

Marabe was with Garankuwa United for the 2013/14 sea­son but spent the whole sea­son with­out kick­ing a ball in a com­pet­i­tive match af­ter fail­ing to se­cure a work per­mit, forc­ing him to re-sign for Bantu this term. Lerotholi also met with the same fate af­ter join­ing United at the start of the cur­rent sea­son and like Marabe, is back with his old club. On the other hand, Moleko joined Garankuwa at the start of the sea­son from San­tos, also in the South African first di­vi­sion, but could not ce­ment a regular place in the team hence his re­turn to Le­sotho.

But ac­cord­ing to Ntšonyana, ir­re­spec­tive of how good lo­cal play­ers are, they would strug­gle to es­tab­lish them­selves out­side the coun­try be­cause of a cock­tail of rea­sons.

“This is a very touch­ing mat­ter to some of us who gen­uinely love foot­ball be­cause the prob­lem does not lie with the play­ers, but our devel­op­ment meth­ods; they are very poor,” Ntšonyana said.

The re­tired striker fur­ther said coach­ing had be­come “more sci­en­tific” and “like an art”, hence the play­ers’ dif­fi­culty in com­pre­hend­ing what would be re­quired, when they move to pro­fes­sional leagues.

“Coach­ing has be­come more sci­en­tific, more com­pli­cated; it has be­come an art lately so our play­ers fail to meet those stan­dards at their new for­eign clubs.

“You will find that they play very well but when it comes to their level of fit­ness, it is well be­low the re­quired stan­dard, and that is where the prob­lems start.

“The train­ing doesn’t build them to reach the ex­pected level of fit­ness, both phys­i­cally and men­tally. That is why in the de­vel­oped world, you will hear that play­ers’ trans­fers have failed due to med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions. De­vel­op­ing a player is ba­si­cally build­ing a com­plete pack­age; there are no short­cuts.

“Play­ers can be im­pres­sive tal­ent-wise but there is more to be­ing a foot­baller than tech­ni­cal abil­ity, and this is where our devel­op­ment sys­tem is fail­ing th­ese boys.”

Ntšonyana, who played for Wits Uni­ver­sity and Wit­bank Aces (both in the South African Pre­mier League), as well as Ar­se­nal and Swal­lows lo­cally, fur­ther said Le­sotho play­ers were taken as cheap labour, which makes them lose re­spect among their peers.

“What I can tell you is that ir­re­spec­tive of how good our play­ers can be, they will not get the recog­ni­tion they de­serve out­side the coun­try be­cause there is no par­tic­u­lar price tag at­tached to them. Play­ers must be val­ued to be treated with re­spect.

“But be­cause they don’t have proper man­agers and also lack sup­port from all the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers here, they are vir­tu­ally on their own in a for­eign land and this makes it dif­fi­cult for them to per­form and even be recog­nised as im­por­tant by their new clubs.

“I was once told by Jomo Sono (South African foot­ball leg­end) that it is not that our play­ers are not tal­ented, but that we don’t take our foot­ball se­ri­ously. he said I should ask my­self why play­ers from other African coun­tries man­age to break into South African leagues so eas­ily and are paid a lot of money yet Ba­sotho have to strug­gle when they would even be bet­ter.”

That is the rea­son, Ntšonyana in­sisted, why ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tions should be oc­cu­pied by “the right peo­ple”.

“When our play­ers move to for­eign leagues and don’t play, it af­fects them men­tally, and they also end-up los­ing their places in the na­tional team.

“So in or­der to make sure we have the sound re­la­tion­ship with for­eign leagues, we need to have the right ad­min­is­tra­tors; peo­ple with gen­uine love for foot­ball, and es­pe­cially those who have played the sport be­cause they know what needs to be done and how play­ers re­ally feel.

“The gov­ern­ments of Le­sotho and South Africa have a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing, which also says Safa (South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion) would help Lefa (Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion) when­ever pos­si­ble. I be­lieve we should take ad­van­tage of this by sug­gest­ing a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship be­tween the lo­cal and South African leagues, for the ben­e­fit of our play­ers.”

BANTU new sign­ing Katleho moleko (far right) dur­ing a Likuena train­ing ses­sion.

For­mer Likuena Striker Teele Ntšonyana.

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