Letsoaka: Lesotho on right track with Talent Development Scheme
FIFA Regional Technical Consultant Serame Letsoaka has praised progress made by the Lesotho Football Association since launching the FIFA funded Talent Development Scheme in February.
Lesotho was among the first countries managed by Letsoaka to launch the ground-breaking talent development programme that will enable member associations to optimise their technical structures, establish sustainable and long -term scouting schemes and, ultimately, reduce the gap at the top of the game.
Addressing youth coaches during his four-day working trip to Lesotho, the experienced football technician, stated that TDS can help Lesotho produce players that can surpass achievements of its best exports such as Lekoane Lekoane, Lehlohonolo Seema and Lebajoa Mphongoa.
Seema had a long career in South Africa playing and captaining the likes of Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates while Lekoane and Mphongoa played for Kaizer Chiefs and Celtic respectively.
“Seema played and captained Pirates and Celtic, but I think if he had been exposed to good youth programmes at an early age, he would have achieved more and maybe played abroad,” Letsoaka said.
“The fact that he was able to captain teams in a foreign country says it all that he was an extraordinary talent and so was Lekoane, who at the peak of his career played for one of the biggest and most successful teams in South Africa.
“I worked with Mphongoa as well, a very good and powerful striker, who if he had been exposed to good development in the early stages, he would have gone far than the PSL.”
Letsoaka, who as a coach led the South African Under-20 team, boasting the likes of Thulani Serero, Andile Jali and Kamogelo Mokotjo, to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, said African countries have failed to reach higher standards due to lack of good youth programmes and infrastructure.
“Africa is blessed with the talent and Lesotho is one of those countries which have talented footballers but could not fulfil their true potential due to short comings during their development,” the FIFA Technical Consultant stated.
“However, FIFA has brought programmes such as the talent development scheme to address such problems and these is where these coaches come to the party to help in developing of world class players for Lesotho.
“With this programme, FIFA wants to see the gap closing between its member associations, where countries like Lesotho will produce players that can help them qualify for major competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup.
“Lesotho will no longer go into competition just to add numbers, but they will compete for honours and do their country proud. That’s what TDS wants to achieve, which is to narrow the gap between countries that are known as power houses in football and those deemed as minnows,” he said.