THIS is a true story.
Just before Likuena left for their decisive match in Cape Verde last week, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane visited the team at Bambatha Tšita. The official purpose of the visit was to give the team a special send-off but his real reason was to find out if the boys were clever enough to know what was at stake.
Thabane feared that the whole team was full of dunderheads.
So Thabane gathered the Likuena team into a room, pulled down a white board and drew a door.
“Anyone who opens this door first will win M20 000 instantly,” Thabane said.
And so a stampede ensued as the players struggled to open the door on the board. Thabane watched in amusement for hours as the players battled to open the ‘door’.
Tired and dejected, the boys slumped on their chairs.
“E thata ntho ena,” said striker Motebang Sera who was panting like a dog.
“I am shocked that we cannot open such a simple door. Ke Mohlolo,” said goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile who was now lying on the floor with his body drenched in sweat.
Midfielder Kefuoe Mahula and defender Kopano Tseka were crying in one corner.
Striker Roboama Koloti and defender Lesia Thetsane asked to go to the loo so that they could call their friends for answers. Rethabile Selonyane was banging his head against a wall as he tried to figure out how to open the door and win the M20 000.
Nkoto Masoabi, Jane Tšotleho, Tumelo Khutlang and Jane Thabantšo were trying to persuade ’Maesaiah to give them clues.
“Monyako ke ona bana ba ka! M20 000 e teng ka pokothong,” ‘Maesaiah kept saying.
Tshwarelo Bereng and Hlompho Kalake were just blankly starring at the door while Tankiso Chaba was screaming his lungs out.
“Ke batla ho bua le Morena oa ka,” said Setho Moshoeshoe, as he aggressively scratched his head.
A disappointed Thabane was just about to leave when he saw the team’s coach, Moses Maliehe, who was sitting in the corner, laughing out loud.
“Ntate Maliehe, you are laughing? Maybe you can tell the boys how they can open that door on the board,” Thabane said.
“Kikkikikikik, Mohlomphehi, these boys are stupid. They don’t know that they can’t open the door because I am the only one with the keys,” Maliehe said.
There was a brief moment of silence in the room until the team’s Captain Mafa Moremoholo started chuckling too.
“And why are you laughing, Ntate Morehoholo?” asked Thabane.
“Ah, Mohlomphehi, I knew the coach had the keys because he kept winking at me when we were trying to open the door,” Morehoholo said.
Thabane had proven his point and he knew disaster awaited in Cape Verde.
And sure enough a tragedy is what we witnessed in Cape Verde on Sunday afternoon. Likuena went into a match with a golden chance to qualify for the AFCON finals.
Never before has this mediocre football team come so close to glory.
The mathematics was simple.
Likuena could afford to draw the march as long as Tanzania drew or lost against Uganda. If both Tanzania and Likuena drew Likuena would qualify because of the head-to-head rule.
If they both won, Likuena would still qualify.
But to control their fate, it was logical that Likuena had to play to win the match because they had no influence over the result of the match between Tanzania and Uganda.
A draw would have sufficed but only if Tanzania lost or drew. So a victory was the only sure way Likuena were going to qualify.
You would have expected the whole team to have known these permutations before going into the match.
Surely there should have been someone telling the players about the score in the match between Tanzania and Uganda.
But Maliehe could not be bothered by those dynamics. He instructed his team to park the bus and play for a draw.
You could see the players wasting time.
The goalkeeper stole the show with his time-wasting theatrics. The other boys were walking the pitch, waiting to hoof the ball into the stands.
The whole match was an eyesore that, in the way, vindicated Muckraker’s decision to shun local soccer. We don’t play football here but something that resembles football.
The players were clearly under instructions to camp in their own half.
We could live with that drab football were it part of a well-informed strategy.
But playing for a draw was horribly wrong.
In the aftermath of that atrocious show some people are asking what went wrong in Cape Verde. Some say it’s the coach while others say it’s the players.
Some say it boiled down to poor communication between the coaching team and the players. All these explanations are nonsense. Mathematics is what went wrong.
Muckraker can bet you her last coin that the whole Likuena team, from coach to the medics, failed Mathematics at school. They hated arithmetic with a passion.
As far as the team is concerned, Mathematics is a monster that bites. If they understood that four plus four is not 44 they would have played that game differently.
You see, the point of high school Mathematics is not to create mathematicians, engineers or actuarial scientists.
Rather, it is to prepare students so that they function properly in the world.
Mathematics teaches you to calculate risks and make sense of things.
It is what informs your judgement on money matters like changing a job, getting a loan or buying something.
And it is useful when you are playing in a match like the one between Likuena and Cape Verde.
That is why it was such a sad sight watching the whole team celebrating after the draw.
The mathematically incompetent souls thought they had qualified. The commentators were stunned as the players bumjived to celebrate a victory that never was.
“Do they know that they have not qualified?” one of them asked.
“Do these buffoons know they are making a fool of themselves and their country?” would have been a more apt way of putting it.
But Muckraker cannot say she is shocked. Likuena are not alone in their fear of numbers.
A couple of years ago a whole country called South Africa celebrated a fake qualification to a World Cup because they did not understand simple permutations.
The whole stadium descended on the pitch to ululate as the players danced in front of cameras.
Even radio commentators were caught in the euphoria and they wrongly announced that Bafana Bafana were on its way to the World Cup.
Even when news of their failure trickled into the stadium some fans kept celebrating. It was as if they were not going to allow facts to get in the way of their joy.
It took the whole country a day to recover from the shock of discovering that they were all sailing in a boat teeming with imbeciles. But even after the sobering reality, some people insisted that the system had been rigged to trip their team.
The same is not going to happen here because nearly everyone with interest in football knew what Likuena had to do to make it to the AFCON finals. Only Maliehe and his team were in the dark.
All this comes down to one thing: we must encourage our children to love Mathematics. This has to be said because Muckraker hears that some parents use numbers to discipline their children.
“U thole u re tu! Ho seng joalo ke tla re u etse ’metse. U tla etsa ’metse hona joale.”
Let them take korobela
Nqosa Mahao has pulled a fast one on his opposition comrades to join Uncle Sam’s government. Muckraker suspected the bromance among the opposition leaders would end in tears but never expected Mahao to do the betraying. The lesson is that there is no honour among politicians and everyone has a price. The BAP’s price is two cabinet seats and some morsels to be flung its way here and there.
The opposition is furious at Mahao for stringing them along for three weeks while Uncle Sam whispered sweet little things in his ears.
They say Mahao attended their nocturnal meetings to plot Uncle Sam’s demise but was busy with a plan to get himself a mok’huk’hu in the government.
Their screams of anger are hypocritical. They too would have been charmed for the right price. Mahao just happened to have yielded earlier than them. None of them can claim that they were not approached by the RFP or its dealmakers.
No one could claim that they refused the RFP’s marriage proposal because they differed on ideology and principle. The only sticking issue was what was offered and what they thought their support was worthy. So let’s bin the hypocrisy and confirm that some of them overreached and overestimated their value by holding out for more spoils. It’s not their business if Mahao sold himself too cheap.
He was smart enough to understand that the market of political support was already flooded. That is being pragmatic.
In the end, it was a simple matter of demand and supply. Uncle Sam played the game well by lodging a scarecrow of a court case to delay the vote of no confidence to buy himself time. That blindsided the opposition leaders and allowed Uncle Sam to counterattack.
So while Lehata was laughing like a hyena in parliament and the opposition congregated at the BNP Centre for drinks Uncle Sam was cooking some delicious dish across town. It was only a matter of time before the aroma reached the politicians’ noses.
So while they were claiming to be united most of them were busy receiving calls to hear what was on the menu. It was a buffet of embassies and cabinet seats. The desserts were deputy minister positions and some small jobs for hungry supporters. The only problem with some of the opposition leaders was that they wanted to eat the whole buffet, including Uncle Sam’s portion.
Meanwhile, Uncle Sam was busy gauging what was enough to satiate the hungriest among the opposition leaders. In the end, he knew he didn’t have to part with much to get the deal and the numbers he wanted. Some politicians are saying Mahao could have asked for more because Uncle Sam was desperate and cornered. Not true!
Your tomatoes do not cost more simply because you worked hard to produce them or you think they are special. It’s the market that decides.
To get more for them you should get the timing right. The same applies to political support. Uncle Sam knew the market of political support would be oversupplied if he waited a few days before buying.
By the time he came to the market the available political support was about to rot and everyone was willing to sell at a huge discount. This is common sense but some opposition leaders want to pretend Mahao ambushed them by selling fast.
Muckraker suggests that next time they plot against Uncle Sam, the opposition leaders should visit a sangoma to give them all a huge dose of korobela so that none is tempted to find another lover. The best love portion comes from the North of us. Mwa, mwa, mwa!
How to share a stolen goat
Those who think Uncle Sam is now safe from the barbarians at the gates are naïve. Mahao’s defection is a temporary setback from which the opposition leaders are plotting to recover.
They are coming because Uncle Sam is holding something they cannot live without: power.
And they will not rest until they get it. Those who believe this fight is based on principle and ideology are unmitigated dimwits. Their claim that Uncle Sam’s government has failed is just a cover to justify their plot. They know they would not do a better job.
Everyone knows that because they have seen their epic bungling when they had a chance to rule.
The notoriety of their thievery, corruption, deliberate mismanagement and nepotism precedes them. They say Uncle Sam has failed to implement his party’s campaign promises but forget that some of them failed several times. If this was about ideology and principle it would reflect in the negotiations for coalitions. In countries where politicians still have morsels of self-respect and specks of shame, such negotiations would be dominated by ideological and policy considerations.
Political parties try to find some common ground on fundamental issues like the economy, education, climate change, trade and foreign policy.
Our rascals here talk about ministerial and diplomatic positions as if they are sharing a stolen goat; I want the head, give me likahare.
My ancestors said I should always eat the testicles. Give me the liver, I don’t have teeth. The heart is my favourite. In a way, our government is like a stolen goat being shared by thieves. Ba ja maleo.
It’s a fat goat stolen from Basotho. The politicians will eat it and not leave even the skin for Basotho to make a mat to lay on when hungry. The thieves are eating while the people watch.
Yet we people never tire to give the politicians the permission to rob and pee on them.
It’s tempting to say we deserve it but no one, not even the Devil, deserves the politicians we have in this country. Some say there is hell somewhere. Muckraker says we are already in a hell of some sort created by our politicians. We are being roasted slowly by politicians and they will never stop.
Does that make you feel depressed and hopeless? Well, you are not alone. There are worse places on this earth. Does that mean we should accept tosh because there is worse tosh in other places?
Well, it’s your choice.
Muckraker wishes you a wet weekend. Let’s hope Uncle Sam throws us a party to celebrate his great escape. You marched for him, didn’t you?
A beer is what you deserve for sweating from Maseru Mall to parliament.
Give Lehata a Bell’s
Mootsi Lehata behaved like a clown in parliament last week. Laughing like he was in a shebeen. Spewing insults as if someone had stolen his goats. He even used the ‘F’ word on Lejone Mpotjoane.
“Moshanyana enoa a se ke a ntella. Se ke oa ntella sonny, f**k you,” he said in response to Mpotjoane. Muckraker doesn’t know Mpotjoane to be a moshanyana. What she knows is what Lehata did to a ngoanana a few years ago.
The girl dropped the rape case on the condition that Lehata builds her a house and pays for the child’s upkeep. So ke eena ea tellang molao. Some might say it’s water under the bridge but Muckraker doesn’t forgive. Never!
For now, we should talk about his monkeyshines in parliament. He looked high on something. Lehata can however deny it. He can say he was shaking because he had spent sleepless nights plotting to topple Uncle Sam. He can claim he was shaking with excitement at the prospect of becoming a minister again. If that doesn’t cut it he can say wasn’t drunk but just suffering from a hangover.
That might work because he could say those who say he was drunk on that Monday should have seen him on Sunday. He could claim he was still suffering the effects of knocking down several bottles taller than him.
But whatever happens, no one can prove that he was high.
Yes, a test could have revealed that he had blood in his alcohol but that is now beside the point because it didn’t happen. In any case, Muckraker has seen worse things in parliament. Remember how some MPs spanked each other a few years ago?
Chairs and bins were given wings. An MP was once captured on camera groping another.
As for insults, worse things have been said. Some of the MPs don’t need to be insulted to feel humiliated. Imagine how it feels to be an LCD MP.
You see it in their faces that they are beating themselves.
No wonder they are not even mentioned as part of the opposition. They are not in opposition, not government and not in the crossbench. They are there, somewhere there.
Muckraker would not sleep well if she ended these musings without mentioning one small thing. During the debate on Lehata’s tomfoolery, one opposition MP said the Speaker should protect MPs so that their images are not manipulated to tarnish their reputation. Yeah, right!
You must have a reputation first for it to be tarnished. Muckraker and 98.9 percent of Basotho know 99 percent of our MPs to be freeloading, greedy and power-hungry charlatans.
That is their reputation. Those who say our MPs are honest and hardworking are tarnishing that sterling reputation.
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