LEFA apol­o­gises for Al­ge­rian de­ba­cle

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

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.

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