Pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing sport is the an­swer

Sunday Express - - SPORT -

ELSE­WHERE in this pub­li­ca­tion we re­port on a Bantu player who is likely to miss ac­tion due to work com­mit­ments sim­ply be­cause our foot­ball is still at an ama­teur level where one can­not de­pend on to sur­vive.

Tše­bang Le­bata, the top goal scorer for the 2013/14 sea­son is likely to miss the first two months of the sea­son due to work com­mit­ments.

The mid­fielder-cum-striker did not link up with the team in the pre-sea­son ahead of their next weekend clash with Se­fotha-fotha at Set­soto Sta­dium.

“I am still with them (Bantu) but cur­rently I am out due to work com­mit­ments in nuthing while the team trains in Maseru, so it’s not pos­si­ble to join them for train­ing,” Le­bata said.

I find this very frus­trat­ing and very em­bar­rass­ing that while those in charge of our foot­ball have been singing the song of pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing foot­ball for the past six years, we re­main stuck in the same po­si­tion.

There are few of the teams who are re­ally mak­ing an ef­fort to give their play­ers monthly al­lowances and while I ap­plaud them for that, they are not of­fer­ing enough to sus­tain the play­ers.

It is not the first time a foot­baller has been forced to give up the sport.

To­wards the end of 2015/16 sea­son some teams strug­gled as some play­ers skipped train­ing af­ter find­ing tem­po­rary jobs dur­ing the Pop­u­la­tion and Hous­ing Cen­sus ex­er­cise. One such player who comes to mind is Liphakoe Striker Neo Skhosana.

I don’t blame the play­ers be­cause ul­ti­mately they need to fend for their fam­i­lies and if the clubs are not giv­ing them enough then they will have no choice but to go out and look for other jobs leav­ing foot­ball as the sec­ond choice.

The rea­son we lack com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion from our play­ers be­cause their fo­cus is on their bet­ter pay­ing jobs then foot­ball come as a sec­ond love.

Most of the play­ers have their eight hour jobs from Mon­day to Fri­day and only at­tend train­ing ses­sions af­ter knock­ing off. To ex­pect them to give one hun­dred per­cent ef­fort un­der such con­di­tions is surely ask­ing for too much af­ter long hours at their work places.

Foot­ball has changed and what worked in the past is no longer work­ing. The sooner those in po­si­tions of re­spon­si­bil­ity ap­pre­ci­ate this, the bet­ter it will be. Our govern­ment should also play their part in en­sur­ing com­pa­nies in­vest in sport be­cause noth­ing can be achieved with­out money.

Sport needs to be pro­fes­sion­alised which en­able, play­ers to get enough time to train and rest with­out wor­ry­ing about where the next meal or where their chil­dren’s school fees will come from.

It is only then that we can hope to com­pete on the con­ti­nent and in the world.

It will be eas­ier for coaches to do their work, for man­age­ment to run teams and for clubs to at­tract sponsorship and in­crease their fol­low­ing.

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