Sports

No COSAFA action for Mehalalitoe

Chris Theko

The Lesotho Women’s Senior National football team Mehalalitoe will not be part of the Confederations of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) Championship action this year.

The Championship is set to from 15 through 26 September in South Africa, at the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay.

LeFA Media Officer Mikia Kalati told Newsday Sports on Tuesday that the decision to not enroll Mehelalitoe for COSAFA this year was reached after the evaluation that was conducted by the association’s National Executive Committee (NEC) basing themselves on bad performance which the team displayed in the 2020 edition.

“The stand out factor was the issue of inactivity in our domestic league due to the suspension of contact sport in the country. Although last year the team was given months to prepare, its performance showed that it was sufficient, so seeing as the league is once again still suspended, it was not ideal to send the team this year,” Kalati said. 

Kalati further indicated that it is not only Lesotho which is not taking part in COSAFA this year as Mauritius and Angola will also not be part of the tournament.     

This is not the first time the team is sidelined by the football governing body due to poor performance. Mehalalitoe also missed out on the 2019 COSAFA edition after the association cited the same reasons of rebuilding the team after it had experienced a dismal showing during the 2018 edition of the tournament. 

Last year, the association enrolled Mehalalitoe in the tournament throwing them into the deep end having gone six months without domestic league action and having not taken part in the previous year’s championship.

They were humiliated 8-0 by Zambia in their first game before facing more humiliation in a 9-0 thumping by Malawi in the second game. 

According to Kalati as part of the build-up process the association will be focusing on the development of football in the country. 

“We have been hosting bio-bubble camps for our development teams with the possibilities of getting friendly games outside the country. The association is also looking at means of continuing with footballing activities in this new normal. Some of the strategies have been hampered by the heavy restrictions,” Kalati said. 

It became more evident and obvious that Lesotho was not to be represented at this year’s COSAFA when the draw was conducted on Thursday. 

The host country and defending champions, South Africa who have won the past four editions were drawn in Group A with Angola, Malawi and Mozambique. 

Guests, Tanzania, last year’s runners-up Botswana and the 2011 winners Zimbabwe all make up Group B, while Group C is made up of the 2019 finalists, Zambia alongside Namibia, eSwatini and the other guests, central African giants Uganda.

The top teams from each group and the best placed runners up will advance to the next stage of the tournament.                  

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