Maseru – World football governing body FIFA has condemned Lesotho’s Setsoto Stadium, saying it does not meet the standards for hosting international matches.
This means if Lesotho’s national teams cannot use the facility for any FIFA tournaments like World Cup qualifiers, and will likely have to play “home” matches in South Africa.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has in recent weeks condemned other stadia in Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Burundi, Eritrea, Chad and the Gambia.
Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) secretary-general Mokhosi Mohapi this week said he was confused by the announcement since Lesotho was knocked out of the World Cup qualifiers by Ethiopia in 2019.
“The banning of Setsoto Stadium for Likuena matches in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers is a bit confusing because at this point, Likuena is not taking part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers,” said Mohapi.
“The circular that listed the names of stadia that will not be used in the qualifiers was sent to member associations who are still in contention for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers of which Likuena is not one of the teams.”
However, the suspension is a wakeup call to the government.
“This serves as a wakeup call that the government, which is responsible for infrastructural development should developing new facilities now. They have an opportunity with the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games to be held in Lesotho in December.”
Mohapi said FIFA gave LeFA a template of its expectations on the stadia to be used in hosting World Cup qualifiers and they in turn submitted the list to the government but the matter was never attended to.
“However, for CAF matches, we can still use Setsoto Stadium because its standards are different from those of FIFA,” said Mohapi.