Sports

Nthunya takes Phafane on

Staff Reporter

The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA)’s long-serving president Advocate Salamene Phafane KC, will face a rare happenstance of competition as he squares-off against the Maseru District Football Association (DIFA) President, Lijane Nthunya in his attempt to retain his seat at the helm of the national soccer mother for the fifth consecutive term at tomorrow’s presidential polls.

Phafane has successfully managed to win the race for the LeFA presidency four times in a row two of which he just scurried past unopposed, but remains unfazed as he looks for another term which if he gets would be eyeing a record 20-year reign of the soccer mother body.

According to LeFA Secretary-General, Mokhosi Mohapi, all protocols have been observed and the association is working as per guidance of the state mitigation strategy like it happened during last year’s congress.

The campaign process, he said ended on Sunday where Nthunya and Phafane were announced as the only candidates so far.

For his part, Nthunya said he is mainly focused on making football a viable industry in Lesotho through putting emphasis on youth development.

The idea, he further showed is to allow children to learn the football culture from an early young age by assigning qualified personnel to train them.  

“The other target is to develop infrastructure in the form of grounds, that is, construct good quality grounds with natural grass in every district,” he said.

In order to achieve this goal, he noted that LeFA would have to partner with the government through the ministries of public works, agriculture, sports, education and water.  

“The role of the Ministry of Public Works involves ensuring that skilled people are deployed in the construction of the grounds. The Ministry of Agriculture will be in charge of guiding us in planting the natural grass in pitches while the water ministry will show us how to rightly irrigate the grounds. The education ministry should be engaged through including sports in its curriculum so that we will be able to scout talent at grassroots level in schools,” Nthunya said.  

He further said his focus is to restructure LeFA by ensuring that DIFAs are autonomous so that they could run their own district affairs and have their own coaches and referees’ committees that will recruit more personnel at district level.

“I also aim to ensure that LUCSA, LISA and LEPSSA have their own district committees to run their affairs at district level and report to the LeFA.

“My focus will also be to engage some of our football legends to be part of football administration to get proper guidance and learn from their experiences.

We need to engage in skills development and train coaches at all the levels, from basic and grassroots level to CAF A Licence so that all our coaches will be qualified. We need to train referees to ensure that all people who administer games are well skilled.

“We need to make football valuable by having transparent administration in order to attract investors through displaying good results.

“The presence of investors makes it easy for clubs to grow, developing the leagues in the process.  

“There is need to largely publicise the sport so that a huge number of Basotho get interested in the sport and get involved. We will consequently have marketable players at national level that will attract foreign teams. Some of the world’s great footballing countries like Brazil focus on exporting quality players, thus contributing to the country’s economy,” he said.

Phafane who has been at the helm of the association for the past 16 years was not available for comment.

Some of the achievements and failures of LeFA’s president adv. Salemane Phafane (KC) during his 16 years as the man in charge of the country’s football governing body.

Achievements:

LeFA was able to build DIFA Maputsoe ground and offices and this was a project funded by FIFA. There was also renovation of Bambatha Ts’ita Sports, Technical Offices, and Football Ground, a project by FIFA.

Mohale’s Hoek Football Ground was renovated under the funding by FIFA.

Lesotho senior national team played COSAFA semifinals 4 times while the Lesotho National Under-20 reached COSAFA Finals 2 times.

Lesotho got to be ranked 105 in FIFA, the highest number ever achieved by the side since its affiliation to FIFA in 1964.

In 2011 Lesotho qualified for CAF Youth Championships for the first time. 

Failures:

The Lesotho Men’s senior national team Likuena, failed to qualify for World Cup 5 times (2006, 2010, 2014, 218, 2022)

Likuena failed to qualify for AFCON 8 times (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019) and CHAN 6 times (2009, 2011,2014, 2016,2018, 2020).

During his 16 years in office the president never managed to secure sponsorship for the association while Lesotho Premier League remains “Amateur”.

For the first time Lesotho found itself at the bottom of the FIFA rankings with position 185, the worst position in the history of our country’s football.

Withdrawal of Senior Women’s national team from CAF and COSAFA due to poor results

No Lesotho club representing Lesotho in the CAF Interclub competitions has reached group stages and the Junior National Teams both men’s and women’s never qualify for major football events (AFCON, and World Cup).

Never investigate Match-Fixing allegations against Lesotho senior national team in 2013

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