The real work for Phafane be­gins now

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

SALEMANE Phafane re­tained the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LEFA) pres­i­dency at last Satur­day’s spe­cial con­gress which was held at Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena in Maseru.

Al­though he was re-elected un­op­posed, it is not a se­cret that the foot­ball fra­ter­nity is di­vided as to whether or not Phafane de­serves a third term in charge of soc­cer’s gov­ern­ing body.

Prior to the con­gress, his col­leagues in the LEFA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee par­tic­u­larly Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Thabo Maret­lane, sang his praises, claim­ing he had done so much to im­prove the stan­dards of foot­ball in the coun­try.

That is not nec­es­sar­ily wrong in it­self but be­yond the praise-singing, it can­not be busi­ness as usual for the LEFA ex­ec­u­tive and they must get down to the nitty grit­ties which in­clude at­tract­ing spon­sors as the Premier League Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee has man­aged to do.

That could go a long way in help­ing our na­tional teams to com­pete bet­ter.

The LEFA lead­er­ship needs to in­tro­spect and ac­cept con­struc­tive crit­i­cism from fans and the fourth es­tate with­out tak­ing it per­sonal.

As the watch­dog, the me­dia has every right to crit­i­cise when­ever there are short­com­ings and they cer­tainly are many of those par­tic­u­larly when the statis­tics prove that we are the whip­ping boys in the con­ti­nen­tal and World Cup qual­i­fiers.

This is the time for Ntate Phafane to do things dif­fer­ently and prove to Ba­sotho that he has what it takes to take foot­ball to an­other level.

It should bother all in the LEFA ex­ec­u­tive that when­ever the foot­ball fra­ter­nity speaks of the best mo­ments of Le­sotho foot­ball, they talk of the late LEFA pres­i­dent, Thabo Makakole.

With that in mind, I would say that the stage has been set for Ntate Phafane to win hearts and prove that he de­serves to be men­tioned in the same bracket as the late Makakole.

To start with, Likuena has never reached the fi­nal of the re­gional COSAFA tour­na­ment un­der his lead­er­ship and achiev­ing that should be his pri­or­ity.

It is a shame that the na­tional team has not fea­tured in COSAFA fi­nal since its only ap­pear­ance in 2000.

In fact all our na­tional teams have not been per­form­ing well and it is even sad when we can­not even com­pete with the teams in our re­gion.

The na­tional un­der-20 teams have been strug­gling for years to make it past the group stages of the COSAFA Un­der-20 and that proves that our youth struc­tures are in a mess.

The sit­u­a­tion was ag­gra­vated by the death of for­mer Likhopo owner Bishop Mo­lato who played a big part in nur­tur­ing some of the most tal­ented youngsters to come out of this coun­try.

Our un­der-20 teams that qual­i­fied for the 2005 and 2011 African Youth Cham­pi­onships were mostly made up of Likhopo play­ers prov­ing that we de­pended on the abil­ity of the late Mo­la­toli to pro­duce young tal­ent.

The re­cent per­for­mance of the ladies team at the on­go­ing Women’s COSAFA Cup in Zim­babwe where Me­ha­lal­i­toe were knocked out in the group stages is proof that we are way be­hind other coun­tries.

Me­ha­lal­i­toe suf­fered iden­ti­cal 0-3 losses to South Africa and Botswana in their two open­ing games be­fore beat­ing Namibia 2-1 in their last game of the group stage.

Women’s foot­ball has been re­ceiv­ing fund­ing from FIFA like in other coun­tries and there is no rea­son that we should so be­hind our re­gional coun­ter­parts.

Th­ese are some of the short­com­ings that Ntate Phafane must rec­tify in his fresh ten­ure. He has to en­sure our teams play friendlies against se­ri­ous op­po­si­tion on FIFA dates like other coun­tries do.

It is also time LEFA im­proved its re­la­tion­ship with the cor­po­rate world and en­ticed some com­pa­nies to come on board and spon­sor its ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing the na­tional teams.

This will help end the long-run­ning rows over al­lowances be­tween the as­so­ci­a­tion and play­ers.

It could also help Le­sotho host one of the foot­ball pow­er­houses in a friendly.

If Likuena hosted Nige­ria or Egypt at Set­soto Sta­dium, it would boost our play­ers’ de­vel­op­ment in­stead of al­ways play­ing Swazi­land and Botswana.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.