Likuena’s AFCON participation hangs in the balance

Rantsubise MateteThe Lesotho’s senior national side Likuena’s participation in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) hangs in the balance, subject to Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) getting subsidy from the Government.
Likuena has been drawn in group L alongside Cape Verde, Uganda and Tanzania and is scheduled to start at the preliminary rounds later this year.
Speaking in an interview, Likuena Team Manager, Mr. Rantsubise Matete told LENA that if the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Sports does not come to the national team’s rescue, the association will have no choice but to pull out of the continental competition.
Mr. Matete said it is too expensive for LEFA to incur the costs of air tickets travelling in Africa as well as accommodation and covering the match officials allowances.
“We have already submitted the budget a longtime ago but have not yet received any form of funding from the Ministry,” he added.
He could not say how much has been budgeted for Likuena to play in the competition.
On the other hand, he said Likuena players have gone to Bloemfontein’s High Performance Centre for the scientific fitness training in which all the players will be assessed.
He said while LEFA pays for the team to go there, it is helpful, saying the results from the centre will help Likuena’s physical trainers to work out any shortcomings in order to be at the required level of fitness.
Mr. Matete said it is the build up for international competition like African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers whose finals will be staged in Cameroon.
When quizzed to comment if the Ministry has received any budget from LEFA, Chief Information Officer Mr. Maqalika Matsepe said he was not aware of any requisition from the national soccer governing body to that effect and promised to enquire.
Likuena players have already began training for three days a week and have also played a training match against Bloemfontein Celtic and will face Free State Stars next week Tuesday in Bethlehem as a build up to the CHAN qualifiers.
In the previous AFCON qualifiers whose finals are currently being played in Gabon, Likuena failed to impress as they finished at the bottom of the group while Algeria ended as group leaders and qualified for the finals.
However, the Desert Foxes as Algeria is popularly known have struggled at the 2017 AFCON finals after being knocked out at the group stages.

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