Bahlabani start on back foot
THE national under-17 football side will be faced with a mammoth task this morning when it takes on the defending COSAFA champions Angola at Mpira Stadium in Malawi.
The Halemakale Mahlaha coached outfit started off on the back foot being edged 1-0 by tournament debutants Comoros in their opener at the same venue on Friday.
Bahlabani, as the side is affectionately known, missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on Friday when Mxolisi Mothae ballooned his spot kick eight minutes into the game.
The team struggled to match Comoros and kept on losing possession and were punished later in the first half when Kamil Dhoul Kifli scored for Comoros.
Despite Lesotho’s apparent desperation, Comoros held onto the lead.
Mahlaha said they would go back to the drawing board in preparation for the Angola clash.
He attributed the loss to the side’s lack of mental aptitude.
“A game of football comes with mistakes and we made many and that cost us the game,” Mahlaha said.
“The boys struggled mentally. But it is now water under the bridge. We must march on and try to prepare for the Angola match on Sunday (today).”
He said his charges got excited and lost focus at the end but said their plan was to bounce back against Angola, opponents he concedes will not be push overs.
“Apart from the fact that we lost, I am not moved by how we played. We missed a penalty and they got one chance and converted it. The boys got excited and they enjoyed possession even when it was not necessary.
“However, we must plan for Angola because it is not going to be an easy match. All teams are here to compete, so there are no small teams here. Angola are the defending champions and will not be pushovers.
“The loss was a learning curve for us. The boys have learnt something today (Friday) and will get better with every match,” Mahlaha said.