Who is to blame?
PREMIER league and A division teams must demonstrate they have a stadium for their home matches which meets the standards set by the Clubs Licensing Committee among other requirements for them to be licensed.
The stadia must have lawns and this requirement is proving to be a challenge for some of the poorer clubs who are now being forced to play their home matches in venues such as LCS and Ratjomose Ground.
Consequently they lose the advantage that would come from playing on their own turf in front of their vociferous supporters.
The logic of encouraging teams to work on their stadia cannot be faulted as it is aimed at ensuring that teams play in internationally acceptable pitches as well as preventing unnecessary injuries to the players.
It must however, be considered against the background of the state of football in the country which is still at an amateur level where most clubs are barely able to remain afloat.
Most clubs do not even own their stadia and LCS and Ratjomose grounds are only decent playing venues on account of the fact that they are home to government-related institutions.
Now if the teams are struggling to sustain their operations in terms of paying players’ allowances and meeting administrative costs, then how would they be expected to have anything left over for the construction of playing grounds, let alone decent ones?
Should the clubs even be the ones to see to it that there are decent pitches which meet the required standards? This question is hugely significant given that clubs in many countries considered to be more advanced than Lesotho still do not have their own facilities.
In some countries, stadia are owned and maintained by municipal authorities and clubs only rent the facilities. So here in Lesotho, who should be in charge of stadia to ensure they meet interna- tional standards?
Should it be the clubs? Or government, council authorities or the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA)?
To build a football pitch is not a child’s play as the example of English club, Arsenal shows.
Arsenal went from being invincible champions who completed the 2003/4 English Premier League season unbeaten to struggling for top four finishes as they sold their best players in order to cater for the costs of constructing a new stadium of their own.
And if this is a huge challenge for a well-funded club from the developed world, then how much more will it be for a club in a struggling economy like ours to have a decent stadium?
I am not advocating for our matches to be played on grazing fields but but I am saying that everyone knows the state of local football and it is probably too much to expect struggling teams who have no sponsors to have topnotch facilities.
Government and specifically local government should shoulder the responsibility of building sports facilities.
It would be good if they could construct at least one major sporting facility per district because the lack of infrastructure affects all sporting codes and not just football.