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Minister challenges Likuena’s administrators

Business

Seabata Mahao

Sports Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo has challenged the national football team administrators to enhance the value of Likuena, to attract sponsors.

The national team has recently been solely financed by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) after losing numerous corporate sponsors due to inconsistent performances on the field.

However, with a notable improvement in their performances lately, there is growing chatter for corporate sponsors to get behind the national team, especially as it mounts an audacious but realistic bid to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

“There is a growing surge of goodwill from local companies which have engaged in sponsoring sports; however, it is our responsibility to make them see value in our sports rather than making it compulsory for them to sponsor us,” Maqelepo said.

He emphasised that many corporates have corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities that already stretch their budgets, noting that sport is not their only priority, as other sectors, including vulnerable groups such as orphans, also need funding.

“If we create value in our sports, every company will want their logo to be on Likuena’s brand. I want to see Lesotho at this level, where the corporates support sports at the highest level without relying on the government,” he added.

LeFA’s Secretary General, Mokhosi Mohapi, recently highlighted the association’s financial struggles in a media statement. “LeFA has spent over M4 million on Likuena for hosting its four 2026 World Cup Qualifiers’ matches. The association does not have any local funding; we only receive a subsidy of M40,000 from the Ministry of Sports through our mother body, the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC). We seek financial support and sponsorship from local companies as we are struggling as an association,” Mohapi said.

Likuena has played four of its 2026 World Cup Qualifiers’ home matches in South African stadiums due to the ongoing ban of the country’s only recognized playing facility, Setsoto Stadium, by FIFA.

Consequently, the 2022/23 domestic league winners did not participate in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) tournament.

History is about to repeat itself, as the 2023/24 domestic league winners are set to miss participating in the CAF tournament due to the unavailability of approved playing facilities.

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