MASERU — Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) assistant coach Mafa Ramakau missed his flight to Uganda at OR Tambo International Airport last Thursday after he had gone to buy some cigarettes, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
Ramakau was part of the LCS delegation that was travelling to Kampala for a Champions League tie against Uganda Revenue Authority last weekend.
The 70-year-old veteran coach had to spend Thursday night at the airport after the airline failed to find him space on the next flight.
He suffered back pain and a cough after spending the night at the airport.
Speaking in a candid interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, Ramakau, who is a former Likuena coach, confirmed that he missed his flight last Thursday.
“It is true that I missed the flight to Uganda because I had gone to buy some cigarettes,” Ramakau said.
He said he only realised that he had run short of cigarettes shortly before boarding the plane to Kampala.
“We were on the way to catch the plane when I realised that I had run out of cigarettes and I wanted to get some before flying out of South Africa.
“I then decided to go and buy the cigarettes from shops at the airport but by the time I got back I discovered that the plane was already taking off,” Ramakau said.
He said that he immediately went to the airport assistants who re-booked him on the next flight to Uganda.
“I didn’t panic because I knew I would get some help at the airport,” he added.
Ramakau said after failing to find a seat on the next plane to Uganda which was leaving the same day, the airport assistant who helped him then booked him on another flight the next day.
He only managed to leave the following day on a 14:00 flight to Uganda.
Ramakau said upon his arrival in Kampala he was immediately rushed to hospital because he was suffering from back pain and a terrible cough.
“I was given some tablets but I am getting well now,” he said.
LCS suffered a morale-sapping three nil defeat at the hands of the Ugandan champions.
But Ramakau blamed LCS’ loss on poor attitude by the players last Saturday.
He said the LCS’ chances of proceeding to the next stage of the Champions League were as good as gone after they were hammered in Kampala last weekend.
“I don’t have much faith that we will proceed to the next stage given that our players’ performance was not up to scratch in Uganda,” Ramakau said.
“Their game was completely new to us and we did not expect that from players of their calibre,” he said.
The technical team was yet to investigate what went wrong before the return leg on March 4 at Setsoto Stadium.
“We are yet to investigate what really went wrong because the players I know and have worked with could not play that kind of football,” Ramakau said.
LCS won the 2010/11 league title under his leadership.