Continental hoodoo must come to an end
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.