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Over M2million for Likuena game

Business

Chris Theko

The national football governing body, Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) will have spent about M2.2 million in preparations for a two-leg African Cup of Nations (AFCON) preliminary stages qualifier clash between Lesotho and Seychelles, Newsday has learned. 

The senior national male soccer team Likuena, was held to a goalles draw when the first leg was played on Wednesday in Mauritius at the Cote D’or Stadium where Seychelles was hosting its home game. 

Lesotho will host its crucial second leg encounter in South Africa, at the Dobsonville stadium in Soweto. LeFA was forced to host the home game in the neighboring country because the Setsoto national stadium has currently been banned and has been since May 2021 by Africa’s governing football body, Confederation of African Football (CAF) as it said it does not meet international standards.

In an interview with Newsday Sports, LeFA Secretary General Mokhosi Mohapi revealed that they are partying ways with around M2.2 million in expenses for this clash alone.

He stated that the majority of the money is going towards the preparing of the second leg game in South Africa as they have to rent the stadium. 

“We are to spend at least 2.2 million in total for these two legs of the game, the first leg and the second leg and that is the money which is coming out of the association. 

“We have booked the Dobsonville Stadium with around M130 000, the majority of the money is going towards administration costs which is around M640 000 then travel expenses,” Mohapi said.

CAF announced in May 2021 that Setsoto stadium and a host of other stadia in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mali, Central Africa Republic, Burundi, Eritrea, Chad, Gambia, Seychelles and Namibia had been banned from hosting FIFA fixtures. 

This meant all the countries whose stadia have been condemned will have to play their home games in any official FIFA recognized venues; this includes world cup qualifiers and AFCON qualifiers.

Setsoto stadium is sorely under the management of the ministry of Gender and Youth Sports and Recreation (MGYSR) and all the expenses of renovating the stadium were to be borne by government.

Mohapi revealed that they notified the MGYSR about the expenses they are to incur as the national team in the continental showpiece but the ministry was not interested in assisting them in any way. 

“We told the ministry about the developments and they were very arrogant in saying we should sort ourselves out because they do not have the funds to assist us in any way,” said Mohapi.

He said it is only this week that the ministry started to be willing to help yet they had already made their own plans to sort out the expenses for the games.

Should Likuena win the home game on Sunday then proceed to the group stages, that would mean more millions to be spent by LeFA. The group stages for the AFCON qualifiers are played in about four games home and away, which means about M8.8 million would have been spent on the games for having no home stadium which is FIFA and CAF approved.

Last week the sports ministry received back the stadium from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AUSC Region 5 Games held in Maseru in December last year.

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