Maliehe sol­dies on

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LIKUENA coach Moses Maliehe re­mains con­fi­dent the na­tional side will ac­quit it­self well against Al­ge­ria on Sun­day de­spite a play­ers’ al­lowances row that threat­ened to de­rail the trip to the North African coun­try.

The match against Al­ge­ria is the last fix­ture of the 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers al­though the Desert Foxes have al­ready qual­i­fied for the con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball show­piece to be held next year in Gabon. The play­ers had threat­ened not to travel to Al­ge­ria un­til their out­stand­ing monies was set­tled.

Ac­cord­ing to a Likuena player who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LEFA) owed them camp­ing al­lowances from as far back as prior to their par­tic­i­pa­tion at the re­gional COSAFA Cup played in May this year in Namibia.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Maliehe, the play­ers and LEFA were able to re­solve the is­sue, with the team de­part­ing for the North African coun­try on Tues­day morn­ing.

Asked if the dis­pute had af­fected the team ahead of the tie against the num­ber on­er­anked team in Africa, the Likuena gaffer said: “Of course, the is­sue af­fected the morale of the team. The cir­cum­stances in which we left the coun­try for Al­ge­ria were far from ideal.

“But we will do our best de­spite those con­di­tions. The play­ers know what is ex­pected of them, and also know they will face off with the best team on the con­ti­nent.”

Maliehe said he ex­pected the gov­ern­ment, through the Gen­der, Youth, Sports and Recre­ation ministry to bring the mat­ter to fi­nal­ity.

“It was a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and put LEFA in the spot­light even though most Likuena ac­tiv­i­ties are sup­posed to be fi­nanced by the ministry,” he said.

“I hope the ministry will in­ter­vene so this mat­ter is re­solved once and for all. As coaches, we are more con­cerned with what hap­pens in the field of play than off it. We try our best to mo­ti­vate the play­ers al­though it can­not be easy.”

Maliehe added United States-based Jane “Sunny” Tšotleho to the squad along­side Bantu’s Thabiso Mo­hapi, while Kick­4life’s Thabiso Brown re­placed the in­jured Thabo Seakhoa of LCS.

“We will treat the match with the re­spect it de­serves, hence we kept the core of the team that per­formed very well at the COSAFA Cup,” Maliehe said.

“Tšotleho could not be part of the team that played in Namibia be­cause his team could not re­lease him.

“But he has al­ways done well, and this group of play­ers de­serves to con­tinue to grow to­gether.”

For its part, LEFA is­sued a state­ment say­ing a few of the na­tional team play­ers “tried to hold the as­so­ci­a­tion at ran­som” by de­mand­ing M20 000 per player.

“On Mon­day evening, a few of the Le­sotho se­nior na­tional team play­ers at­tempted to hold the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion to ran­som claim­ing al­lowances amount­ing to M20 000 per player,” reads the state­ment.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion has, for a long time, stated the M5 000 al­lowances per game have never been part of the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s pol­icy.” The foot­ball mother body also in­sists the M5 000 al­lowances were never part of the ministry’s pol­icy.

“The Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion cat­e­gor­i­cally states that the M20 000 that those play­ers were de­mand­ing was never promised to the play­ers at any stage by ei­ther the as­so­ci­a­tion or the ministry.

“The Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, the Pre­mier League Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee and the Club Pres­i­dents/lead­er­ship of the play­ers who have been se­lected to the Na­tional Team met with the play­ers and the sit­u­a­tion has been re­solved.”

Al­ge­ria top Group J and could be joined in qual­i­fy­ing by sec­ond-placed Ethiopia as one of the four best run­ners-up.

Likuena are at the bot­tom of the group with three points hav­ing man­aged just one vic­tory against Sey­chelles.

Likuena coach Moses Maliehe (sec­ond from right) in­structs play­ers dur­ing a match played at Set­soto Sta­dium in this file pic­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.