4 June 2019

Lesotho: The Circus Continues

IT IS hardly two months after Likuena's dismal performance in their last match against Cape Verde in the Group L of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.

Likuena needed just a 1-0 win to make the history and qualify for their debut AFCON finals but as usual, things didn't go well for Moses Maliehe and his charges.

This left many Basotho with lots of questions regarding the technical team's decisions that saw the country being held 0-0 by the islanders while Tanzania registered a much needed 3-0 win against Uganda to book their spot in the competition set for Egypt later this year.

On Tuesday, the Likuena technical team announced a 20-man squad which will represent the country at the COSAFA tournament being staged in Durban.

Once again, the squad which was announced by the Likuena assistant coach Mpitsa Marai left football supporters with so many questions on how it was made.

Among other things that don't make sense is the fact that there is not right back in the team. In their defence, the technical team is claiming that it will use Lioli midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle for the right back position.

But my argument is, Koetle didn't have a good season with Lioli probably because he only started playing in the second round of the season, so selecting him instead of going for a natural right back is a recipe for disaster.

I also fail to understand the selection of the Black Leopards winger Luciano Matsoso into this team.

The guy never kicked the ball for Leopards for the whole of the 2018/19 season ever since he joined them at the start of the season but every time Likuena is assembled, he is in the team.

What I find more disturbing is the fact that the man plays in the same position with Jane Thabantšo of Matlama and Tumelo Khutlang, his teammate at Leopards. Thabantšo had a spectacular season with the reigning champions, Matlama while Khutlang has generally fared better than Matsoso.

Besides, the fact that there are neither right backs no natural wingers, it would have been sensible to get players for those positions instead of forcibly taking Matsoso, who plays on the left.

But instead they decide to take along a fringe player who is by no chance going to add any value to the team claiming that his experience will be helpful.

I don't remember the last time when experience ever worked for Lesotho. We have always used the same tried and tested players in all competitions in different competitions but they have never delivered a single qualification for any of the continental competition.

In as much as it is the job of the Likuena technical to select players, I still think they also have to respect Basotho and football supporters.

The modus operandi of using experience as an excuse for what appears to be mere favours has to end if we are to progress as a country.

I know that not everyone will be satisfied by the national team selection but coaches also have to try to be as fair as they can in selecting players to earn Basotho's trust.

Likuena should lose matches because any football team can lose a match not because of things careless decisions by the coaches.

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