By Mikia Kalati
Getting friendly matches for Likuena has become such a difficult task for the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) that I feel the management of both Lioli and Bantu deserve to be applauded for bringing Free State giants, Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars, last weekend.
Efforts to professionalise our league have been painfully slow, but I feel Tse Nala and A Matšo Matebele have made positive strides to change the pathetic state of the game in our country.
I have been impressed by the way these two teams have been operating both on and off the field.
Bantu’s journey, who four years ago were playing in the A Division league, has been nothing short of breathtaking.
This is a club that has won the Independence Cup twice in succession in 2011 and 2012.
The fact of the matter is that we have been asking too much from our players both at club and national level to perform and shine at continental competitions.
Preparations leading to the crucial continental matches have over the years been so poor that it is not surprising that we never qualify for major sporting events.
A good example is that of our league champions LCS, who in two week’s time face Dynamos of Zimbabwe in the Caf Champions League, yet have only played the reserve side of Free State Stars leading to such a crucial match of the prestigious continental competition.
The correctional services side was heavily criticised for losing to Uganda Revenue Authority in the same competition last year, but people never considered that their preparations were so poor leading to that match.
In the past Likuena and the Under-20 team, Makoanyane XI, benefited from playing in the regional Cosafa cup games, which have since been scrapped as the regional governing body struggles to find sponsors.
The situation is even worse because last year Lefa withdrew both the Under-17 and Under-20 teams from continental competitions due to financial problems.
I guess this leaves our teams without any options, but to find ways of improving by negotiating and playing against South African teams on a regular basis to improve on and off the field.
Playing against these teams who play in a competitive professional league will give our young players the much needed experience and international exposure.