Phafane criticises govt over lack of support to Likuena


MASERU – President of the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), King’s Counsel (KC) Salemane Phafane, has strongly criticised the Lesotho Government over its failure to adequately support the senior national football team, Likuena.

In a press briefing held at LeFA headquarters, Bambatha Ts’ita Sports Arena in Maseru on Monday, Phafane lashed out at the Government and the Ministry of Sports, accusing them of neglecting Likuena’s funding needs for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and the 2024 COSAFA Cup.

“Our Ministry of Sports claims it cannot afford to fund the team,” said Phafane. “This has become monotonous. It happened before with previous governments, and it is still happening with the current government.”

Phafane described the situation as an embarrassment. “This has now become an embarrassment. I can simply say our Ministry of Sports is an embarrassment.”

He clarified that he did not blame the private sector for the government’s negligence. “I am not talking about the private sector. I am talking about our government and its responsibility to support the national teams for international games, a responsibility that our competitors’ governments fulfill. I wonder what our officials discuss with ministers or association representatives from other countries.”

Phafane added that government officials should be ashamed to watch Likuena’s games given their lack of support. “What is unfortunate is that during elections, all Lesotho government candidates use football to their advantage. They hold tournaments to gather votes,” he remarked.

However, the LeFA President affirmed that his association would continue to fund Likuena for the World Cup Qualifiers, COSAFA Cup, and the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers.

“We will continue to participate in international matches with or without the support of our ministry,” he said. “But we still hope that one day the government, through our Ministry of Sports, will be ashamed that Likuena are hoisting Lesotho’s flag while competing against teams supported by their governments, whereas Likuena lack the same support.”

Phafane explained that LeFA enrolled Likuena in all three international competitions to improve the national team’s playing standard.

“We have enrolled our team because we believe this will improve our standard of play. However, it is very difficult to sustain the team for three different international tournaments without any support from the government,” he said.

Phafane added that LeFA also had to fund the senior national women’s team, Mehalalitoe, and the men’s under-20 national team, Makoanyane XI.

“We are not only focusing on Likuena. We have other national teams to support,” he said. “We also have the under-20 boys’ team, Makoanyane XI, which we have enrolled in an international tournament to be played in Eswatini soon.”

Phafane said Mehalalitoe had a series of friendly games lined up and that Makoanyane XI had already started preparations for the Eswatini tournament.