LEFA apologises for Algerian debacle
THE Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has apologised to the nation following Likuena’s 6-0 hammering at the hands of Algeria in the final 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match played in Algiers last Sunday.
In a statement issued this week, LEFA secretary-general Mokhosi Mohapi blamed the chaotic preparations characterised by a last minute stand-off between players and the association for the national side’s poor showing. The players staged a strike and threatened not to fulfil the fixture over allowances prior to taking off for the North Africa nation.
“On behalf of the LEFA leadership allow me to apologise for the loss and this should be the last time. It cannot be well when our senior team takes six without reply,” Mohapi said.
He said the players’ “untoward” behaviour before jetting off to Algeria contributed to the defeat.
“However, it is important to appreciate a number of issues.
“For starters, we lament the fact that our team behaved in the manner in it did on the eve of their departure to Algiers.
“That kind of behaviour is very untoward and does not help anyone in the process. Yes issues arise but why can’t they be discussed in good time,” he said.
Mohapi said although the Desert Foxes were superior to Likuena by virtue of being the top-ranked team in Africa, the margin of the defeat was still unpalatable.
“As a nation we should be able to appreciate the challenges we come across. We played a nation that is ranked number one in Africa - a nation that has the likes of English premiership champion Riyadh Mahrez,” he said.
“Those who follow football know how much of a menace he has been to defenders in England. He has won accolades in the most commercialised league on the planet. And it’s not only him, look at the entire team that Algeria has assembled.”
Mohapi added Likuena stood no chance as Algeria coach Milovan Rajevac was out to make a big impression in his first match since his June appointment.
The Serbian Rajevac, who took over from Christian Gourcuff after the latter resigned in April, is best remembered for taking Ghana to within a penalty kick of the 2010 World Cup semi-finals in South Africa.
“He (Rajevac) wanted to endear himself to the Algerian people. It then presented a monumental challenge for our team that was probably not as focused as the Algerians,” Mohapi said.
He also said the regrettable events that transpired on the eve of Likuena’s departure for Algeria “should be a lesson to the team going forward”.
Algeria’s Faouzi Ghoulam (centre) vies with Lesotho’s Mabuti Potloane (left) and Thabiso Brown during the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday in Blida, Algeria.