16 September 2017

Lesotho: Test of Character for Mehalalitoe

Lesotho Women's national team, Mehalitoe, will get their regional COSAFA Cup tournament campaign underway with a tough encounter against favourites South Africa this afternoon in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Women football has been on the rise in the country over the last two years thanks to the Women's Super League that compromises of eight teams.

The league has afforded the women's teams competitive football week in and week out and I believe the COSAFA tournament comes at the right time for our ladies to gauge their strength against quality international opposition.

While it is exciting for women's football to have a competitive league in the country, one cannot run away from the fact that there is still a long way to go before we can compare our national team to regional powerhouses like South Africa and Zimbabwe.

But at the same time, I think it is good that the team has a chance to test themselves against other countries even if it is not going to be easy to mark their return to international football with an opening fixture against a tough Banyana Banyana side.

Banyana Banyana is used to the big stage but I hope our girls will not suffer stage fright but go on to give our experienced neighbours a run for their money.

I am just happy to see our team get a shot at international football as we suffered a great deal over the last decade while football progressed in other countries. This was despite the funding that the Lesotho Football Association was getting from FIFA to uplift the women's game.

For the first time there will be 12 teams and this shows that the countries are now taking women's football seriously.

The COSAFA women's tournament returns after a six year absence and this had left countries like ours with little or no international action. So being part of this year's showdown is surely a dream come true for the ladies.

All they have to do is to grab the opportunity with both hands and follow in the footsteps of their star player, Boitumelo 'Queen' Rabale, who has already tasted victory in South Africa.

Rabale has over the years been hogging the headlines for the right reasons in her home country as well as in South Africa where she plays for Bloemfontein Celtic ladies.

The talented Qoaling-born player was handed the captain's armband in her first year at Celtic and she led the team to the national championship.

The COSAFA Cup should be Rabale and her teammates' stepping stone to bigger things.

Rabale is not the only female footballer that is flying our flag high internationally as there is also former Kick4Life player, Senate Letsie who recently left for the United States of America on a scholarship.

These are signs that there is hope for women's football in the country and we can only get better by playing in competitions such as the COSAFA Cup.

We can even dream of playing at the Olympics Games as well as the African Women's Championships.

Apart from South Africa, we also have Namibia and Botswana in our group and I believe we stand as much chance as they have to advance to the knockout stage.

Our team has looked very competitive in their recent friendlies against Swaziland and they just need to do is to get rid of the fear factor and compete to the best of their abilities to advance to the next stage of the competition.

Make us proud Girls!


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