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Foreign coach for Likuena?



MASERU – Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) President Advocate Salemane Phafane has dropped a big hint that the next coach for the national team could be a foreigner.
The national side, Likuena, has been without a coach since Thabo Senong resigned in July just a week before the COSAFA Cup in South Africa.
Phafane said LEFA’s technical director, Leslie Notši, has been tasked with overhauling the national team and preparing it for the new coach because “the coach that didn’t have the benefit of watching the players must not find us folding our arms when he gets here.”

A local coach, and maybe even a South African coach, would not need the technical director to prepare a team for him.
However, a coach from outside these two countries would definitely need to find a team that has been prepared and to which they can make alterations if the new coach wishes to.
Another big hint that Phafane dropped was the bilateral agreement the association is close to agreeing with Belgium.

Through the agreement LEFA is hoping to recruit coaches from Belgium or have Belgians come to Lesotho to train local coaches. With an agreement with FIFA’s number one ranked country, LEFA would not only benefit with educational programmes for coaches, but perhaps even with equipment.
Although the search for the new coach is on, Senong’s successor will not be announced anytime soon judging by LEFA’s statements. The new look Likuena will see a lot of current players being left out but some are expected to keep their places in order to mix new blood with experience.
It remains to be seen whether the ‘Mozambican tour troublemakers’ will be part of this new team.

The criteria for a player to be in the national team has been drawn up.
For players to be called to the national team it will be on merit alone and on their performances for their respective clubs.
However, because there is currently no football being played, it makes it difficult to select players based on their performances.
Notši, as a result, has worked with several local coaches to select the players as they work with the players on a daily basis at club level and know them better.

On top of the new look Likuena, LEFA is set to re-launch the national B Team which was famously known as the ‘Special Force’ in two weeks’ time. This time around the plan is for the team to be on a continuous programme and challenge the national team. It will comprise players below 23 years, Phafane said.
“Before hiring a national team coach, the technical director has been tasked with rebuilding it, we want a new look Likuena, our expectation is to see (Notši) include as many new players as possible mixing them with old ones but we are really calling on him to give us a face-lifted Likuena before we can bring a coach in,” Phafane explained.

“In a matter of two weeks from now, we are launching what used to be known as the ‘Special Force’, it must challenge the new look Likuena,” the LEFA president said.
“The Under-20, (and) Under-17 (national teams) have been active and our expectation is that a combination of players that have been continuously trained at Under-20, Under-15, (and) Under-23 should give us a better looking Likuena and then we will bring an outside coach or even a local qualified coach to relieve the TD (Notši) of that responsibility.”

Meanwhile, the new national women’s coach, Shalane Lehohla, is also expected to go into camp in Mohale’s Hoek with a squad of players that Phafane said would be made up of players based outside the country and the top talents that are already in the country.
The aim is to start preparing for when Mehalalitoe goes back to compete internationally at the Women COSAFA Championships next year.
With the talent in the women’s game, Phafane said Mehalalitoe should come up with a very dynamic team.

Tlalane Phahla

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Rabale eyes Champions League glory



Lesotho women’s team captain Boitumelo Rabale has her eyes on winning her second CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football is scheduled for Ivory Coast from November 5-19, where eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned Queens of the continent.

“Queen”, as the Lesotho star is commonly known, was part of the Sundowns squad that was crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the tournament held in Egypt two years ago, becoming the first player from the Mountain Kingdom to taste Champions League success.
She has become one of the key players in Jerry Tshabalala’s squad having walked away with the Hollywoodbets Player of the Season in the previous campaign and currently leads the goal-scoring charts with 21 goals.

“It was exciting to win the CAF Women’s Champions League with Sundowns two years ago and in the process becoming the first player from Lesotho to do so,” Rabale said.

“I felt very lucky and honoured to make history. It gave me confidence to continue working hard and strive for more success with the club”
Sundowns head to the tournament as regional champions after clinching the COSAFA qualifiers to qualify for the continental showpiece, where they will kickstart their campaign against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.

Rabale admitted that memories of losing the last final to AS FAR still haunts them, but they head to Ivory Coast a better team than in the last tournament.

“We learnt the hard way when we lost in the final to AS FAR and we come back a better team having rectified our mistakes.

“It’s our dream to conquer the continent again and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to get our second star in Ivory Coast.

“It will be very good to add the second CAF Champions League medal to my trophy cabinet,” she said.

The 27-year-old has been prolific for Sundowns this campaign having scored nine goals in her last five matches to take her tally for this campaign to 21 goals.
Sundowns are in Group A alongside tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan, Sporting Casablanca of Morocco, as well as Tanzania’s JKT Queen.

Since joining Sundowns in 2021, Rabale has won the Hollywoodbets Super League twice, the COSAFA Zonal qualifiers twice as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League and is the reigning Hollywoodbets Player of the season.

Tlalane Phahla

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Red Skins fail to raise funds for championship



Lesotho volleyball giants Red Skins have failed to raise funds for the 2023 Zone 6 Senior Indoor Volleyball Club Championship they are set to host in December.

Red Skins will host the competition together with four other local volleyball clubs – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Station (LMPS) and Rivers – and the tournament is expected to start on December 7 and end 10 days later.

Without any funds or sponsors coming in, Red Skins will have to foot the bill from their pockets for the tournament which will see teams from 10 countries converge on Maseru.

Among the participating nations, Botswana is expected to bring the biggest contingent with 12 teams, with Zambia following closely behind with nine teams while Zimbabwe is set to be represented by six teams.

Two weeks ago, Red Skins participated in the Elite Cup in Gauteng, South Africa, which was hosted by Aqua Darshan Volleyball.
Red Skins hoped to win the tournament and return home with a hefty jackpot but they only collected M5 000 which was won by the men’s team.

A gala dinner that Red Skins hosted last weekend also failed to generate income due to low attendance and speaking to thepost on Tuesday, the club’s vice-captain, Moleboheng Mofolo, said they will have to push on with what they have to host the tournament.
Mofolo said they no longer have time to come up with other means to raise funds.

“Tournaments will require us to find sponsorships and we do not have time now, we have to focus and train well,” Mofolo said.

“Our coach already told us to camp from this week but rain is our biggest challenge because we cannot continue with the training,” she added.

Mofolo said Red Skins are fortunate that participating teams are going to take care of their accommodation and catering. She said if Red Skins had to provide those services, they would not have been able to manage.

She pleaded with individuals, organisations and companies to help the team, whether it is by offering accommodation, food, or whatever little they may have.

Tlalane Phahla

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Giants avoid each other in Top 4 clash



Women Super League (WSL) giants Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies and Kick4Life Ladies have avoided each other in the WSL Top 4 knockout competition.
The two-day showpiece takes centre stage this weekend at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena and it will see last season’s top four finishers in the league – LDF, Kick4Life, Lijabatho and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Ladies – go head-to-head for bragging rights.

The draw for the competition took place last Friday and the semi-finals will see LDF go up against Lijabatho while Kick4Life will take on LMPS Ladies.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday with the tournament culminating the following day.

Sunday’s proceedings will kick-off with a third-place playoff game to determine who walks away with the bronze medals before the final later in the day.
All four games over the two days will be streamed on the FIFA+ website and the WSL Top 4 will usher in a new sponsor this year.

In the past, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) fully bankrolled the competition, however, Computer Business Solutions (CBS) has come on board with a sponsorship for the first time.

The competition’s prize monies have not been revealed because they are still being finalised, but, speaking at last Friday’s draw, LEFA’s associations secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the relationship with CBS is one that sport should engage in.
Mohapi added his hopes that the relationship will be a long-term one.

“While others are busy at their thing, we should really grow ours so that when their distraction finally ends, they find us as united as we can be as the football community,” Mohapi said.
“(We should be) united by the efforts and inputs that emanate from the business community, especially when it is a truly Lesotho business entity because other (foreign entities) are here to take money,” he said.

Addressing CBS as the tournament’s sponsor, Mohapi said: “We are thankful as LEFA for your initiative; (we) hope you will be in this marriage quite long. We know we are just testing the waters but we have a lot that can entice you to stay longer, not only my command but the instruments that we have.”

Mohapi said LEFA’s dream is that in two years’ time all league matches will be streaming on the FIFA+ platform which was launched last April by football’s world governing body to increase exposure of men and women’s football around the globe.

Currently, only three grounds in the country have the structures for broadcasting; Bambatha as well as the grounds at LDF and Lesotho Correctional Service grounds, and all are in Maseru.
LEFA plans to add more grounds to the list with the DIFA facilities in Maputsoe and Mohale’s Hoek set to be the first to follow suit.

“All our women’s competitions, cup competitions and (Vodacom) Premier League matches that will be played in those stadia that have our infrastructure – we will be able to stream those games internationally,” Mohapi said.

“We have extended our footprint,” he added.

“We are now doing LDF – we have already put up the structure – then we are moving to Maputsoe and, hopefully, Mohale’s Hoek. It is our desire that in two years’ time we will hopefully cover all the matches and put them on the FIFA+ streaming platform.”

WSL Top 4 fixtures:
Saturday (Bambatha)
Lijabatho Ladies vs. LDF Ladies
LMPS Ladies vs. Kick4Life Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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