MASERU — The English Football Association (FA) is considering withdrawing funding to Lesotho, a move that could likely deal a heavy blow to the development of football in the country.
The FA, which is still smarting from its failed bid to host the World Cup tournament in 2018, said it is mulling cutting funding to three of Africa’s poorest countries — Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho — as it reviews its overseas projects.
The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) has for decades heavily relied on funding from the FA for development projects.
“FA chiefs are considering whether to axe funding to three of Africa’s poorest countries after a review of overseas projects following the failed 2018 World Cup bid,” The Independent reported this week.
The FA, which secured just two votes out of a possible 25 during the vote for the right to host the World Cup, has been funding Lesotho for a number of years in the form of administration workshops and financial assistance.
Lefa vice-president Khiba Mohoanyane however told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that they were not aware of the FA discussions to stop funding Lesotho.
“No official correspondence regarding this matter has reached our offices so far, at least not to my knowledge,” Mohoanyane said.
He however said “if this is true it will certainly affect the development of football in the country to a large extent”.
Lesotho had over the years benefited from the FA’s generous support.
Mohoanyane said most of the local coaches would not have acquired internationally recognised certificates had the FA not facilitated their training.
“Among other things, the FA has been helping us develop coaches’ knowledge and skills and if they stop, our football will be affected badly.”
“Almost year-in and year-out our national teams’ uniforms have been donated to us by the FA.
“Ever since I joined football, Lesotho has benefited immensely from the relationship with the association in a much bigger way than one can possibly explain,” Mohoanyane said.
The head of the Football Association of Malawi, Walter Nyamilandu, however confirmed that “all FA assistance has been cancelled”.
“According to FA, they took the decision because they felt Fifa was not recognising the support they were giving to the game of football. Their services will be greatly missed,” Nyamilandu told the Malawian newspaper.
— The Nation.