Mehalalitoe to miss COSAFA tourney

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Mehalalitoe to miss COSAFA tourney
Mehalalitoe to miss COSAFA tourney

Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has opted against registering the country’s national women’s teams in international competitions for the rest of the year due to a lack of preparations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

LEFA’s decision means the senior team, Mehalalitoe, will not take part in this year’s COSAFA Women’s Championship scheduled to start in September in South Africa, immediately after the COSAFA Women’s Champions League. Sport in Lesotho remains suspended and there is no way national teams can train or even play friendly matches to prepare.

LEFA said it is wary of sending an unprepared team to the COSAFA Women’s Championship as it did last year when Mehalalitoe received a hiding of their lives against Malawi and Zambia at the tournament losing 9-0 and 8-0 respectively.

It remains to be seen if LEFA will register the team next year if circumstances change. Mehalalitoe not being enrolled in the regional showpiece just adds more salt to the wound for Lesotho’s women’s players because it means less international games and exposure for them.

In addition, Lesotho will not have a representative in the CAF Champions League this season in the men’s game. LEFA was unable to register a team because the league season is not finished and has not played the required threshold of games to cancel the season.

LEFA’s communication’s officer, Mikia Kalati, said the association is looking at ways to move forward during the Covid pandemic and adjust accordingly.

“The plan was to play a lot of friendly matches before going to the COSAFA Women’s Championship but because of Covid and school commitments, it affected the preparations of the team,” Kalati said.

“I am sure we all learnt from last year, our teams did not have a proper training programme because sport was suspended. It affected us a lot in the COSAFA games. For example, Mehalalitoe did not do well at all.

A lack of preparations was one of the things that affected the team compared to the past years so we will not have the team taking part in COSAFA (this year),” Kalati said.

Kalati said in the past Mehalalitoe would play friendly matches outside the country as part of their preparations before heading into the COSAFA Women’s Championship. However, such exposure and preparation has been affected this year and, therefore, LEFA made the decision to not register the national women’s teams.

Kalati said he believes the COSAFA Champions League which Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies are set to participate in starting from next week, will help give players the exposure they need.

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