Letsoaka: Lesotho will have a big story to tell through TDS
FIFA Regional Technical Consultant Serame Letsoaka has commended progress made by the Lesotho Football Association since the launch of the Talent Development Scheme (TDS) in Lesotho.
Lesotho launched the first phase of the FIFA Funded programme in March, which started with the scouting of under-15 players across the ten districts of Lesotho.
The second phase of the programme has been the selection and training of regional teams, who this past Friday came against each other for the first time at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena in the presence of the FIFA Regional Consultant.
Speaking with members of the media on the side-lines of his official visit to Lesotho, the FIFA Regional Consultant expressed his satisfaction with the talent of the scouted boys.
“I think four or five months ago I was in Lesotho, where we went to one of the districts, Thaba Tseka and i saw the kids playing. I also got to talk to the coaches that work with these kids and at that moment to be honest, I was not happy with what I saw,” Letsoaka said.
“It wasn’t a performance to write home about but today what i have seen when the kids were playing is a huge improvement, big, big improvement.
“About a month ago I was in Eswatini, where they were doing a bigger group of U-16, but when I look at this group, they can compete with that group of the U-16 and U-17 from Eswatini and Mozambique.
“They did the same thing taking the best players from the three centres and then maybe you invite Botswana and say, Botswana let’s come and play so that you get to test your TDS players.”
The experienced FIFA Technical expert who served Botswana and South Africa as the Technical Director, feels Lesotho has made a meaningful progress with the programme aimed at creating a sustainable legacy for long-term talent by maximizing each participating member association’s opportunities.
“If I was to make a comparison, these boys are at an advanced stage, I see a big improvement. I have made recommendations to the Technical Director as to how they can continue to improve by making them play in a smaller field, but I see a very big improvement in Lesotho,” the FIFA Regional Technical Consultant said.
“I had time to sit down with the LeFA President Advocate Salemane Phafane and one of the key things I was talking with him about was that, now that Lesotho has this kind of players, can we look for a boarding school in Lesotho, where we can place the best from this U-15 programme.
“We can select another group to make it a bigger pool and put them in one boarding school so that after classes, they live together, eat together and train together so when they are in U-17 category, the biggest part of your team will be made from these players, where the coaches are there and deal with them players on a daily basis,” he said.
The FIFA Technical Consultant is adamant Lesotho will have a good story to tell through the Talent Development Scheme as many of these young players will help their country become a competitive nation as well as having successful careers in professional leagues.
“On the commercial side of football as far as these boys are concerned, from where they are growing at their clubs, where you find that they don’t even have qualified coaches who understand how to train youth players, but imagine today if they would be in that part of the environment, where they are in a set-up of an academy, how many of them would end up playing in professional leagues,” Letsoaka said
“In one of the games, there was this tall boy, who plays as a striker, you can see he is the future as a striker, and if he grows like that, you can imagine, where he will be in seven to ten years, he will be on top of his game,” he said.