Football in Lesotho
|Football in Lesotho|
|Governing body||Lesotho Football Association|
|National team(s)||men's national team|
|Clubs||Lesotho Premier League|
The sport of football in the country of Lesotho is run by the Lesotho Football Association. The association administers the national football team, as well as the Premier League. Football is the most popular sport in the country.
The Lesotho Football Association was founded in 1932 and renamed, in 1992, as "Lesotho Football Association" (LEFA). In 1964, they joined FIFA and the CAF. The current president is the lawyer Salemane Phafane.
The Lesotho Premier League was founded in 1970 as the highest national league. At times it bore the names of sponsors. For example, during the 2013/14 season it was called the Vodacom Premier League. Most clubs come from the capital Maseru. Some clubs are associated with institutions such as the army, police and the judiciary. The annual highlight is the cup games for the independence celebrations on 4 October, in which four teams each participate. The 14 clubs of the Lesotho Premier League compete the trophy.
Record champions include Maseru's Matlama FC and Lesotho Defense Force and their predecessors from Maseru, each with ten titles (including a title from Matlama in 1969). Lesotho Prison's service / Lesotho Correctional Services has won six league titles, Lioli FC five titles and Arsenal FC, Linare FC and Maseru United / Maseru Brothers three titles each. Lioli FC are also the most successful club in the country not to come from Maseru.
Their highest position in the FIFA World Ranking was 105th in August 2014. They are currently ranked 139th (as of July 2020).
From 2004 to 2006, the German Antoine Hey coached the national side. The ambitious goal was the qualification for the 2010 World Cup in neighbouring South Africa. However, after one and a half years, Hey was dismissed for failing. The successor was the Serb Zavisa Milosavljevic, who was also dismissed in September 2009 and was replaced by Lesotho native Leslie Notši, who was previously the assistant coach of the national team. In 2014 Seephephe "Mochini" Matete trained the team, a former international. Moses Maliehe became the coach in 2016.
The biggest success of the national team was reaching the final in the regional competition of the COSAFA Cup 2000. In 2004 they could have, for the first time, qualified for a team for an under 20 national continental championship.
The nickname of the national team is Likuena (Sesotho for "the crocodiles").
Stadium and technical centre
In the 1980s, the "National Stadium" (Setsoto Stadium) was built in the capital Maseru. The project was originally directed and funded by North Korea. Under pressure from the South African government, the North Koreans had to leave the country. The stadium was finished under a different direction. In 2002, the new Setsoto Stadium was inaugurated by then FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Setsoto is the Sesotho word for "The Wonderful" or "The Amazement". The stadium holds, after a conversion, 20,000 spectators. At the same time, Maseru's "technical centre" was the Bambatha Tsita Sports Arena, which has a football school, a fitness center and two saunas. The cost of the Sports Arena was about $800,000, of which FIFA took over as paid $400,000 as part of the Goal project.
Other football fields in Lesotho are often very simple, so there are no spectator stands there.
- "Wake-up call for Lesotho football – Sunday Express". Sundayexpress.co.ls. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Times Of Swaziland". Times.co.sz. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Lesotho hit by match-fixing link | News | Africa | Mail & Guardian". Mg.co.za. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Focus on youth pays off for Crocodiles". FIFA.com. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Lesotho Goal Project" (PDF). FIFA.com. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2020.