The same old nonsense

The same old nonsense

MASERU – Gutless, spineless and boring is what Likuena’s performance was on Tuesday against Uganda at Setsoto Stadium in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.
Lesotho was second to Uganda in every facet of the game.
There was nothing we could do better than the visitors, which is actually infuriating.

Right now there doesn’t seem to be anything we are good at; even our passing was poor and Uganda was far superior in possession.
Despite being the away team, the visiting Cranes knew exactly what they wanted and forced us to play like an away team in our own stadium.

I spoke to a few fans at the stadium after the game and all were saying the same thing – they want succession plans and they want improved infrastructure.
Others were also demanding changes to the Likuena technical team saying a lot of players have been unfairly left out of the national squad while some players do not deserve to be in the team.
The truth is a coach will never satisfy everybody, there will always be criticism, there will always be questions of ‘why did you call so and so?’ and ‘why is so and so not in the team?’
It is normal in football, it happens everywhere and it is results that shut all of that moaning. But you cannot blame the fans for asking these questions when the national team is underperforming like it is right now.

Coach Moses Maliehe is the face of the team so he is an easy target. However, is there any use in recycling coaches when there are no structures in place for continuity?
Unlike other countries we have no continuity plans. There are also many other countries struggling financially as we are, but their football is improving and is now much better than ours.
Botswana’s league, for example, is growing far better than our league and whenever we meet Botswana in a competitive match, we struggle.

It is telling that not so long ago Uganda faced similar problems of finances but in 2017 they ended their 39-year wait to qualify for the AFCON and they are on the verge of yet another appearance while Lesotho may not even get a win in this group which also includes Tanzania and Cape Verde.

After their campaign in the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, Uganda’s head coach at the time, Milutin Sredojevic of Serbia who is now in charge of Orlando Pirates in South Africa, tendered his resignation citing a breach of contract by the Uganda football federation.

The coach in charge of Uganda, Frenchman Sebastian Desabre, is new but he is taking the Cranes back to the AFCON for their second successive appearance.
We have changed coaches over and over again but there is no change.
There is no change in the way we play football; there is no change in the way football is run by the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA).
When you watch Likuena you just realise just how far behind we are compared to other countries. Everything in football counts: how you pass the ball, how you position yourself, the runs you make, the free-kicks – everything counts.

With the way things are going it doesn’t look as though we are a team that is going to make history anytime soon.
On Tuesday, Madagascar sealed qualification to the AFCON for the first time in their history and it is worth remembering that we beat them in the COSAFA Cup in June to claim a bronze medal at the regional showpiece.

By the way, the COSAFA Cup is the only tournament we participate in. Maybe that is because we don’t have to go through a qualification process to be there – we probably wouldn’t make it if we had to qualify.

There is no success in the COSAFA Cup, we literally learn nothing new we don’t know about our team because we use the same side that plays in the qualifiers for the World Cup, AFCON and African Nations Championship (CHAN) and they just never perform.

Is it time for the powers that be to stop talking about making football a profession in the country and start making it happen.
You have to wonder how they feel when they watch Likuena get outplayed in every game.

Is it time to invest in the sport that we all love or we should just admit we are not a football nation?
Should we just admit we love the game but don’t have what it takes to succeed at it?

Luciah Phahla

Previous LNOC let us down badly, says Likatola
Next Lioli, Matlama clash in Uhuru Cup

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