Cosafa Cup roars into life (Sports opinion)

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LT 18By Mikia Kalati

The Lesotho 2013 Cosafa youth tournament finally got underway on Tuesday to a beautiful opening ceremony.

It was better compared to what I witnessed during the opening ceremony of both the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa.

We should be very proud of our country and the organisers of the tournament.

Well, there were a few slip-ups but I would rather concentrate on giving credit where it’s due.

The local organising committee deserves a pat on the shoulder for the good work despite the ups and downs leading to the tournament.

What matters most is that the tournament roared into life as scheduled.

Credit should also go to our Sports Minister, Thesele ’Maseribane, and the Lesotho Football Association for putting their differences aside to make the competition a success.

It was also nice to see His Majesty King Letsie III among the dignitaries at Setsoto Stadium as he officiated at the opening ceremony.

Having said that, I cannot ignore the supporters, who came in big numbers to rally behind Lesotho’s Under-20 team.

Even though the team failed to beat Comoros, the fans were in high spirits.

The regional football governing body, Cosafa, also deserves praise for giving Lesotho yet another chance to host the youth tournament which was last played in the Mountain Kingdom in 1995.

We were all disappointed that Makoanyane XI failed to beat the Comoros side that has never made it past the group stages.

We were the better team but we squandered a plethora of glorious goal scoring opportunities to win the match. Anyway, it’s all part of the game.

Let’s hope the team will bounce back and do us proud in the next matches.

It’s surely going to be very difficult against Kenya and Mauritius in the remaining games.

Makoanyane XI coach, Moses Maliehe, and his team will have to double their efforts to make it past the group stages because mediocre performances won’t be tolerated especially when we have the home advantage. Zambia head to this tournament as hot favourites having won the last edition of the competition and it will be very interesting to see if they can make if four titles in a row.

Zimbabwe is another of the teams that have performed so well in this competition having won it six times since 1985.

South Africa who have also won the competition four times come back a stronger and better team under the mentorship of the vastly experienced Shakes Mashaba.

Mashaba is one of the successful coaches at national team level and a lot will be expected from his side.

Then there is Namibia who have seen a lot of growth in their football in recent years.

There will surely be among the dark horses challenging for the crown.

Let me take this opportunity to wish Maliehe and his team the best of luck.

I hope they can make us proud and write the history books by winning the competition on home soil for the first time.

Our team has not made it past the first round since 2005 and it’s a challenge for them to break the long hoodoo of making an early exit from the contest.

 

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