Con­ti­nen­tal hoodoo must come to an end

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

Li­oli ap­pear headed for African Cham­pi­ons League elim­i­na­tion at the first hur­dle in a re­peat of what hap­pened to them two years ago.

Tse Nala on Sun­day lost the first leg of the first round qual­i­fier against Vi­tal’ô Foot­ball Club of Bu­rundi, and the 2-1 de­feat at Set­soto Sta­dium makes life very dif­fi­cult for the Vo­da­com Premier League cham­pi­ons, go­ing into the re­turn fix­ture to be played in Bu­jum­bura next week­end.

This prospect of yet an­other fail­ure for do­mes­tic foot­ball is re­ally cause for con­cern be­cause for over a decade now, lo­cal clubs have not made it past the first round of the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion.

What is more dis­ap­point­ing is that Li­oli are mak­ing the same mis­takes that cost them dearly in 2014 when they were knocked out of the same tour­na­ment by Primeiro de Agosto of An­gola.

in the home match played at Set­soto sta­dium, Li­oli were all over Agosto, but could not score the goals they needed to pre­vail over the An­golans, who won the fix­ture 3-1 on ag­gre­gate.

it was the same story last year for Bantu, when they were knocked out of the same com­pe­ti­tion by AS Man­gas­port of Gabon.

A Matšo Mate­bele went out of the tour­na­ment on a 1-0 score­line, with the soli­tary goal be­ing scored in the first leg in Gabon.

Bantu were in con­trol of their home tie, but could also not make the best of the chances cre­ated in that match and in the end, the not-so-con­vinc­ing Man­gas­port ad- vanced to the next stage of the com­pe­ti­tion at the ex­pense of the waste­ful Bantu.

That score, by it­self, tells it all — that the Gabonese side were not that pow­er­ful, but pre­vailed be­cause they took their chances in their back­yard and man­aged to frus­trate Bantu in the re­verse fix­ture.

But we can­not con­tinue like this; things have to change be­cause it ap­pears no-mat­ter the draw, our teams would al­ways strug­gle to make head­way on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

Yet for the game to un­dergo this change, there is need for the whole foot­ball fra­ter­nity to work to­gether.

As for what hap­pened at Set­soto on Sun­day, i was very dis­ap­pointed with Li­oli’s per­for­mance con­sid­er­ing that they were play­ing at home and have so much ex­pe­ri­ence in their squad, as most of their play­ers are in the na­tional team.

on Sun­day, th­ese boys did not come to the party as ex­pected, and at the end of the day, lo­cal foot­ball had yet an­other dis­ap­point­ing af­ter­noon.

But i also blame our ad­min­is­tra­tors for the predica­ment our game finds it­self in be­cause noth­ing has been done to end th­ese woes de­spite their per­sis­tence.

There is no rea­son why our teams can­not get past their An­gola, Bu­rundi and Gabon coun­ter­parts if we have beaten their na­tional teams be­fore.

Play­ing in this com­pe­ti­tion is not about a cer­tain club, but rep­re­sent­ing Le­sotho and this is why i feel it needs se­ri­ous at­ten­tion so we do not con­tinue to be the laugh­ing stock of the con­ti­nent.

i mean the last time a lo­cal team made it past the first round was in 1998 when LDF scaled this hur­dle but fal­tered in the next.

i would maybe make peace with it if our teams were be­ing ham­mered badly, but it is not the case which means that some­thing can be done to cor­rect the mis­takes that we are do­ing.

We have play­ers of that LDF team of 1998 as well as from other teams such as Arse­nal and Mat­lama, who know what it takes to get past the first round of this con­ti­nen­tal show­case.

Why not bring them to­gether so that they could give their ex­per­tise and see where they can help out to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion?

Li­oli’s per­for­mance in Sun­day’s match was no dif­fer­ent to their goal­less draw against LDF a fort­night ago.

But just like in that match against the army side, Tse Nala were in con­trol of the match, but were let down by poor touches in the fi­nal third of the pitch.

Un­for­tu­nately it was not the case for Vi­tal’ô as they man­aged to utilise two of the chances cre­ated in that match.i hope Li­oli have learnt their les­son and will have a dif­fer­ent ap­proach in Bu­rundi be­cause the goal-ag­gre­gate they need to ad­vance to the next round is not out of their reach.

We all know that Tse Nala are used to win­ning with good foot­ball, but at times, es­pe­cially in such com­pe­ti­tions, teams might need to play ugly to win the match.

li­oli de­fender Kopano Tseka (right) gets the bet­ter of Vi­tal’ô striker Akima Tresor.

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