Big pay-out for Likuena

Big pay-out for Likuena

MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has rewarded the national team players who represented the country at the 2018 COSAFA Cup held in Polokwane, South Africa, last month with a M330 000 bonanza. Likuena lost to eventual champions Zimbabwe in the semi-finals but finished third by beating Madagascar in the third and fourth play-off.
As a reward for claiming Lesotho’s first-ever bronze medal at the regional showpiece, each member of Likuena’s 22-man squad received a total of M15 000, M5 000 for each of the team’s three games at the tournament.

It means LEFA parted with a healthy sum of M330 000 on the Likuena squad.
Speaking at Tuesday’s handover ceremony at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, Likuena coach Moses Maliehe appealed for the same support again in September when Lesotho resumes its quest to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Maliehe said football is becoming expensive and players need support.
“I want to thank our (LEFA) executive and the Ministry of Sport for giving us such a great support during the COSAFA games,” Maliehe said.
“We had a plan to come back home with the COSAFA (Cup title) but it did not happen as planned,” the Likuena mentor added.

“I want to thank the players for their unity and hard work. We still have the AFCON qualifiers that will be played in September (and) we are asking for support once again during those games. We are also asking our government to support us as football is now expensive. This campaign is not only for the Lesotho Football Association but every Mosotho.”
Lesotho captain Mafa Moremoholo, meanwhile, apologised for failing to bring the COSAFA Cup trophy back home.
However, he said the team’s journey is not over yet with the 2019 AFCON qualifiers resuming in September.

Lesotho is in Group L alongside Cape Verde, Uganda as well as Tanzania and has already played one match against Tanzania, a 1-1 away from home last June.
In September, Likuena will host Uganda at Setsoto Stadium as they seek their first win in the qualifiers. Lesotho, with one point, is second in the group behind Uganda who have three.
Next year’s AFCON in Cameroon, by the way, will be contested by 24 teams for the first time and not 16 teams as in past years.

The amendment means the top two nations in each of the 12 four-team groups will qualify for Cameroon 2019 doubling Lesotho’s chances of advancing to the AFCON finals for the first time.
“We are grateful and thankful for the chance that we were given to represent Lesotho in the COSAFA games and we apologise that we failed to come back home with victory like we anticipated and promised Basotho,” Likuena captain Moremoholo said.

“But our journey is not yet complete; we will take it from where we left it so that we succeed (in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers).”
Meanwhile, Likuena head of delegation at the COSAFA Cup, Rantsubise Matete, said leading the national team was not easy as people think.
But he said with support from everyone, including LEFA president Salemane Phafane, the job became easier.
Matete also praised the players’ mental strength despite losing to Zimbabwe.

The other big news at yesterday’s ceremony was the announcement of former Likuena and Kick4Life mentor Leslie Notši as LEFA’s new technical director following the departure of Lehlohonolo Thotanyana to become Lioli’s head coach. LEFA president Phafane also confirmed Maliehe will continue as Lesotho’s coach and that his contract has been renewed.“You worked very hard and we are proud with the work you did for your country, you did not embarrass us,” Phafane said when addressing the Likuena squad.

“Moses, I hear you are a no-nonsense coach, therefore, that makes the players play very well,” the LEFA boss said.
“I should mention that even before we went to Polokwane (to the COSAFA Cup) we sat down for negotiations about Maliehe’s contract and officially I can announce that his contract with his team is renewed.”

“Three days back Lehlohonolo Thotanyana was released with warm hearts since his contract was coming to an end,” Phafane added.
“We asked him to stay but he has a new job and we had to let him go. Officially, he is no longer LEFA’s technical director; our technical director is now Leslie Notši.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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