MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has accused the sports ministry of impairing senior football national team Likuena’s preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers, singling out the forthcoming away tie with the island nation of Mauritius. LeFA says the ministry deliberately refused shouldering the responsibility to finance just appointed Serbian head coach, Veselin Jelusic’s visa to travel to Mauritius where the game is going to be played.
On its page official Facebook page, LeFA wrote that “on Friday we managed to acquire a visitor’s visa for the head coach, this was after the association wrote to the ministry through the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission for facilitation. “As if we knew that the ministry would not want to help, we ran a parallel approach by going direct to the South African High Commission and this decision worked and the coach got his visa and will be able to travel with the team to Mauritius through the Republic of South Africa and be able to be with the team in Mauritius.
“Had we not acquired the visa, the coach would have to be flown directly to Mauritius and would not be with the team in the 2nd leg of the competition.” In an interview with LeFA’s Administration Manager, Mokhosi Mohapi, Public Eye saw three letters the association had written to the ministry requesting financial assistance to facilitate Likuena’s friendly matches until the team’s departure for Mauritius.
Mokhosi told this reporter: “We wrote the letters to the ministry stating all our requests for finance, yet everything was eventually financed by the association. Things were not supposed to happen this way as we were told the association should organise all the projections and pass them to the ministry for financing.
“We run the football fraternity simultaneously with the national team, and in all that all we have received to this point are three replies stating we will not receive any assistance because of financial constraints in the ministry.” The ministry has conceded receipt of the letters in question, but noted that “as much as the ministry owes LeFA money for past events, it has always been willing to repay it…but finances have not been on the clear in the ministry.”
Public Relations Manager, Maqalika Matsepe, said the ministry had, however, responded to the association’s letters early in February but since they didn’t know the actual budget they couldn’t commit themselves. “Even after receiving the budget estimates the money allocated could not meet the cost of LeFA’s requirements. They act as though our budget is a secret yet everyone can see the numbers allocated.
“Where we are able to help we do, and it is surprising that they never acknowledge it publicly. It is not just the national team that is suffering but all the other teams are suffering when they have to play out of the country. “On the issue concerning Likuena and the coach, there was no clear communication from LeFA about the coach visitors’ visa to Mauritius, but we didn’t ignore them,” Matsepe said.
Matsepe claims the ministry requested for LeFA to produce the coach’s correct documents so that they begin the process “but they failed, and in the event they told us they applied for a visa through the South African High Commission said they will only issue the visa when the applicant has exceeded six months’ stay in their job and we wondered why they would then come back to us when they already have an answer.” “But still we applied for it and along the way Mohapi said through his cunning methods he got the visa,” Matsepe explained.
He further went on to say that in all the issues that have been raised as points of conflict between the two it has not been the football association that had gripe but Mohapi himself. “I say this because the president of LeFA comes to the ministry and he is never this dramatic.”