School of ex­cel­lence her­alds new era

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

The Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LEFA) is hold­ing a week­long School of Ex­cel­lence train­ing pro­gramme for 54 un­der-15 play­ers from across the coun­try.

The train­ing, which ends to­mor­row, is un­der the of­fice of the Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor, Lehlo­honolo Thotanyana.

Ac­cord­ing to Thotanyana, the ini­tia­tive started with iden­ti­fy­ing play­ers at district level.

“Th­ese kids are the fu­ture of our foot­ball and the plan is to see them play­ing for the na­tional team in the end,” Thotanyana said.

“Not all of them will end up where we want them, but we will re­tain the best 33 at the end of this week­long pro­gramme. The in­ten­tion is hold reg­u­lar camps when­ever their schools’ sched­ule al­lows us to do so.”

Thotanyana fur­ther said they were con­fi­dent the ini­tia­tive could pay div­i­dends the way it has done for coun­tries such as Ger­many, which in­vested a lot in youth de­vel­op­ment on the road to win­ning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“A lot of teams and coun­tries have ben­e­fit­ted from sim­i­lar pro­grammes and we be­lieve it can work out for us,” said Thotanyana.

“We had a sim­i­lar group a few years ago and they achieved a lot, also qual­i­fy­ing the coun­try for the first African Youth Cham­pi­onship in Benin in 2005.”

Play­ers of that fa­mous team coached by Seep­hephe Matete and Thotanyana in­cluded Tefo ‘Chigo’ Maipato, Bokang Mothoana, Dlomo Mon­aphathi, Katleho Moleko, and Mot­lalepula Mo­folo.

The trio of Mon­aphathi, Moleko, Maipato along­side Mo­folo ended up be­ing signed by Or­lando Pi­rates’ de­vel­op­ment team al­though they all strug­gled to break into the first team, while Mothoana was later signed by Tu­nisian side, Union Sportive Mona­s­tiri­enne.

“We want to put more into youth de­vel­op­ment be­cause it is the lifeblood of our foot­ball. Only through in­vest­ment in the youths can we com­pete with other coun­tries,” said Thotanyana.

The pro­gramme, he added, would be held an­nu­ally.

On his part, LEFA sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mokhosi Mo­hapi, an­nounced at the same briefing

that the as­so­ci­a­tion had hired Mo­haila Let­seka as their De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer.

“I should take this op­por­tu­nity to an­nounce our new ad­di­tion who is the as­so­ci­a­tion’s new De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer and will be work­ing hand in hand with the Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor es­pe­cially on is­sues re­lated to youth de­vel­op­ment,” Mo­hapi said.

Mo­hapi also an­nounced that Bloem­fontein Celtic Youth de­vel­op­ment coach and for­mer Likuena cap­tain, Lehlo­honolo Seema, would be among a group of coaches work­ing with kids through­out this week.

The oth­ers in­clude na­tional un­der-20 team coach, Mot­lalepula Ma­joro, as well as for­mer Likuena cap­tain, Moitheri Ntobo.

“We have coaches from our youth teams, but the good thing about them is that they started at the bot­tom, just like th­ese kids and that, in it­self, will be a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor.

“I must all thank the par­ents of the kids who have al­lowed them to leave their homes and join us on this pro­gramme.”

Mo­hapi fur­ther said the of­fice of their tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor would be key in help­ing de­velop the lo­cal game.

“This is a learn­ing curve for the kids, they will learn many things in­clud­ing how to con­duct them­selves both on and off the pitch. How­ever, the goal is to have a big­ger pool in or­der to in­crease the base of qual­ity play­ers at youth level,” said Mo­hapi.

“The aim is to take the play­ers through good de­vel­op­ment stages un­til they reach the se­nior team level.”

He also said the goal is to see the group rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try at un­der-23 level and hope­fully qual­i­fy­ing the coun­try for the Olympics.

FFOM RIGHT: Lefa tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Lehlo­honolo Thotanyana, sec­re­tary gen­eral Mokhosi Mo­hapi and new de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Mo­haila Let­seka.

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