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LeFA insulted by the government

Business

Seabata Mahao

The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) President, Advocate Salemane Phafane KC, has fiercely criticized the M40,000 government subvention, calling it an “insult” to the association.

Phafane made these remarks during a media briefing held at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena this week, where he announced LeFA’s outright rejection of the subvention.

He stated that the amount was grossly inadequate and failed to meet the financial needs of the association, especially as it prepares for several critical competitions.

LeFA is currently gearing up for three major international tournaments: the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the COSAFA Cup, and the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, with the draw set to be conducted later this month.

Phafane emphasised that the financial support required for these events far exceeds the meager government subvention offered.

“We enrolled because we believe it will benefit the improvement of football in our country, despite the challenges. Sustaining a senior national team to participate in international tournaments without government support is very difficult; it is their responsibility to support us, not corporations,” Phafane explained.

“Other associations competing in these tournaments receive support from their governments, while we feel neglected. We have played four round-one matches of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, where we have seen our team gaining confidence from the support Basotho have given them along this journey,” he added.

He further criticised the Ministry of Sports for its alleged consistent empty promises, which he said have become a troubling norm. He suggested that persisting in bad practices often leads to the belief that they are acceptable.

“Our hope is that Likuena will maintain their standing in the COSAFA tournament, thanks to the support of Basotho amid all the challenges. They will then focus on the AFCON qualifiers’ draw to provide them with the boost they need,” he added.

Phafane criticised politicians for leveraging sports during their campaigns, knowing the public’s passion for it, only to neglect sports development once elected into parliament.

“I am here to confirm what the Secretary General of LeFA has been saying: we do not receive any funding support from the Ministry of Sports. The Ministry shows no shame even though we have essentially made South African stadiums our home. Nevertheless, we will continue to raise our national flag high until this situation is resolved,” he asserted.

“We are committed to this journey with or without their support. They should refrain from seeking funds from parliament in the name of sports, as it seems they are using it for their own purposes. It baffles me whether they feel any shame attending their national team’s home matches in foreign stadiums. Frankly, it is embarrassing, and I question what they discuss with other member states regarding sports in their country,” he added.

Phafane highlighted that two years ago, the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) requested all its associations and federations to submit their budgets for the financial year. LeFA complied in the hope of bringing about change, but to date, there has been no response from the Ministry of Sports.

Furthermore, the Lesotho women’s team, Mehalalitoe, is set to participate in this year’s COSAFA tournament, with friendly matches already scheduled to help them prepare.

“Mehalalitoe Head Coach Shalane Lehohla has been tasked with naming his provisional squad for these matches so they can begin preparations promptly. This preparation is crucial for them to compete effectively, much like Likuena in their upcoming COSAFA tournament,” Phafane stated.

“We have also entered the under-20 boys to compete in the upcoming tournament in Eswatini. These young players appear ready for their international competition under the guidance of Head Coach Halemakale Mahlaha. Additionally, our under-15 youth development squad has just returned from training in Gauteng, South Africa,” he added.

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