NATIONAL senior soccer team coach, Veselin Jelušić, is confident that his charges will beat Seychelles next week when the sides clash in two 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) preliminary round qualifiers.
Likuena will play Seychelles, on Wednesday in Mauritius while the second leg will be played at Dobsonville Stadium in South Africa on 27 March. This after Lesotho and Seychelles’ international stadiums were condemned by CAF as unsuitable for hosting international matches.
The Serbian Jelušić told the media in Maseru yesterday that he had set his sights on winning the two matches.
He said they were aware that Seychelles would also be out in full force, but he was confident that his side would go through the preliminaries.
“We are aware that we are facing a tough challenge against Seychelles, and we are not taking them for granted, but we are optimistic that we will go past the preliminaries,” Jelušić said
“We are working on all phases of the game. We have also been working on individuals and team tactics and I am happy with our players’ commitment.”
This week, the technical team was concentrating on video analyses of how Seychelles plays. This would inform Likuena’s plan for the game.
“We had video analyses yesterday (Tuesday) on Seychelles’ techniques. So, we have an idea, and we are planning how we will approach the game but also taking into consideration their strengths.”
Jelušić has been with the team for just three weeks, but he said he was happy with the players’ reaction to his coaching style.
“So far I have no complaints. The players are taking the instructions well and we are working as a team together with the entire coaching team.”
Foreign based players Tumelo Khutlang, Tumelo Makha and the unattached Tšoarelo Bereng have now joined camp. Motebang Sera will join the team this weekend.
Though most of them have joined the training sessions, Jelušić admitted that it was still worrying that some of the foreign-based players were struggling for game time. However, he said they would still add value to Likuena.
“Players can be in competitive form only when they play regularly. But even when they are not getting adequate game time, they are quality players and I believe in some parts of the game they can help us. So, it is important to have them because even their clubs will be monitoring them and if they perform well, they can start getting game time thereafter.”
He is also looking forward to starting his journey with Likuena on a high note.
Likuena has played three practice matches while preparing for the Seychelles game. The first one was last month against University of Pretoria where they drew 3-3. The second and third games were last week against eSwatini where they drew 0-0 before losing 3-0.
The side could have played more practice games but the three have helped them identify challenges that needed to be rectified. Among these is the defence, which conceded three goals against eSwatini last weekend.
Captain Basia Makepe said he was confident that they would beat Seychelles in both games given the changes that Jelušić had made.
“Our preparations are going well, and I think this time around we will do well. We promise the nation that we will do our best,” Makepe said yesterday.