By Mikia Kalati
MASERU — The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) has welcomed the return of the regional Cosafa Cup tournament.
Confederation of Southern African Football (Cosafa) announced last weekend that the tournament which was suspended in 2000 will return this year and Castle will return as the main sponsor.
This year’s tournament will be staged in Zambia in July.
Lefa secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that the return of the tournament is great news for the Lesotho national team and the growth of football in the southern Africa region that has been lagging behind compared to the rest of the other African regions.
“Indeed, it’s great news for football in our region and our national team as long as they get to play in such a competitive tournament,” Mohapi said.
Mohapi said he feels a similar competition for the top three clubs in each of the Cosafa countries would also be welcomed as clubs also need to be involved in competitive regional games.
Likuena coach, Leslie Notši told this paper that the return of the regional tournament is a massive boost to the national team.
“The tournament was very important to the national team before and it will also play a vital role in the growth of football in our country,” Notši said.
“A lot of players were discovered in this tournament and they went on to be household names and I’m sure it’s going to do the same to the current crop of players.”
The Likuena coach said it has become a big problem in recent years for smaller football countries like Lesotho and Swaziland to get regular international friendly matches and he feels the Cosafa tournament will give them that competitiveness.
He said it will also be a good platform for young players to get international experience and exposure.
Lesotho’s best performance in the tournament was reaching the finals in 2000 where they lost to Zimbabwe.
Likuena had beaten teams like Angola and Zambia on the road to the final.