Leribe com­mu­nity fail­ing Linare

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

ONCE upon a time, there was a for­mi­da­ble foot­ball club called Linare.

Linare are based in Hlotse district and have pro­duced some of the best foot­ballers to have ever graced the lo­cal game.

Yet the team is now a pale shadow of that in­domitable side of yes­ter­year and as we speak, are still chas­ing their first win since the se­cond round of the 2015/16 sea­son got un­der­way in Jan­uary this year.

With eight matches to play be­fore their league cam­paign comes to a close, Linare find them­selves ninth on the 14-team premier­ship ta­ble — a sad fall from grace for a team which used to be counted among the great sides of Le­sotho foot­ball.

While it is al­ways easy to blame coaches and play­ers when a team is strug­gling, I don’t think this should be the case with Linare. This is be­cause their top play­ers have been leav­ing the team over re­cent years due to lack of am­bi­tion by the man­age­ment.

I ac­tu­ally feel the team is a bit sta­ble un­der Mot­latsi Shale who took over the coach­ing reins in Jan­uary this year.

But still, Linare are not at the same level with LCS, Li­oli and Bantu when it comes to the qual­ity of their play­ers. And nei­ther do they com­pare with th­ese three sides when it comes to the way the club is ad­min­is­tered, which makes the coach’s job that much harder.

This is a side that has pro­duced great play­ers such as Em­manuel ‘Gar­rin­cha’ Pha- motse, Thulo ‘ Magic Touch’ Le­boela and in re­cent years, the likes of Ka­belo Mosothoane and Mabuti Pot­loane.

‘Magic Touch’ and ‘Gar­in­cha’ were as good as any player of their gen­er­a­tion, hence those sweet nick­names.

Luck­ily for Le­boela, his tal­ent did not go un­no­ticed as he went on to join South African out­fit Black­pool in the 1980s where he played along­side great play­ers such as the late John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu and Fani Ma­dida.

Like I said, it is a shame a team with such a rich his­tory has now be­come a laugh­ing stock in the premier league and if things do not change fast, they will end up dis­in­te­grat­ing just like what hap­pened to Arse­nal and Mazenod.

The fact that Linare have now gone over three decades with­out win­ning a league ti­tle says a lot about this side’s de­cline over the years.

This is why I feel Leribe res­i­dents, and those who played for this team, should do some­thing to save Linare from col­lapse.

The most ur­gent thing this team needs is fi­nan­cial mus­cle for it to com­pete for top play­ers with the other big guns who have man­aged to at­tract cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship.

I strongly feel the peo­ple of Leribe have not been united in help­ing Linare over­come the demons that have seen the team go for so many years with­out a ma­jor tro­phy, with their last league ti­tle com­ing way back in 1980.

The same lack of sup­port goes for other Leribe district teams, Nyenye Rovers and Mphat­lalat­sane, that have been go­ing up and down the premier league and A divi­sion.

The strug­gles of both Nyenye and Mphat­lalat­sane also point to lack of qual­ity play­ers as well as poor ad­min­is­tra­tion.

As for Nyenye Rovers, the team’s first divi­sion fran­chise has now been sold to Limkok­wing Univer­sity, while Mphat­lalat­sane look to be on their way back to the lower divi­sion from the premier league af­ter sur­viv­ing the axe last sea­son.

The St Mon­ica’s based side are bot­tom of the Vo­da­com Premier League ta­ble with just 12 points in 19 games. They only have seven matches to save their topflight league sta­tus, which is a tall or­der whichever way one looks at it.

My point here is there is no need to have so many teams in one district when all of them con­tinue to strug­gle.

I hope for the sake of Leribe district that all the peo­ple who have served this game be­fore will come to­gether and make Linare a force to reckon with once again.

Leribe also hap­pens to be where re­cent­ly­elected Sports Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent, Khiba Mo­hoanyane, comes from and he is also the vice-pres­i­dent of the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

My prayer is that he should do some­thing about foot­ball in Leribe be­cause if he does not, I can only fore­see doom in that district, as far as the game is con­cerned.

The truth of the mat­ter is our foot­ball is more en­joy­able when Mat­lama, Bantu, Linare, Li­oli and all the top guns are at their best and there is no out­right win­ner be­fore the sea­son is not even half­way through.

This was the case dur­ing the 2013/14 sea­son when Linare were in the league ti­tle race, but in the end, fin­ished third on the ta­ble be­hind Bantu and Li­oli re­spec­tively, while they also reached the fi­nal of the LNIG Top8, only to lose the tro­phy to Tse Nala.

Not only did the per­for­mance of Linare dur­ing that sea­son make the peo­ple of Hlotse fall in love with their team again, the play­ers were also catch­ing the at­ten­tion of Likuena coachs with the likes of Pot­loane, Dyke Tšiu, Tšiu Moorosi and Kopano Mo­taung be­com­ing reg­u­lars.

That sea­son, Pot­loane was crowned Vo­da­com Premier League Player of the Sea­son, but un­for­tu­nately, he has since joined Mat­lama while Tšiu, Moorosi and Mo­taung have also quit the club.

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