THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) says it’s currently discussing a way forward regarding the future of underfire Likuena coach Moses Maliehe following his side’s failure to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Maliehe has come under heavy criticism from the football fraternity after Likuena drew nil-all with Cape Verde a fortnight ago, in the process blowing away a golden opportunity to qualify for their debut AFCON.
Likuena needed either a win or a draw in their final match of Group L depending on the fate of Tanzania, who played already qualified Uganda on the same day. Had Tanzania lost or drawn, Likuena could have proceeded with a draw. However, Tanzania trounced Uganda 3-0 and oblivious of that result; the Likuena side seemed content with a draw throughout the game in Cape Verde and eventually failed to qualify.
Addressing the press in Maseru this week, LeFA secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi said the association’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is yet to decide Maliehe’s fate. He said they are also mapping a way forward for Likuena before they start their African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.
Likuena has been drawn against South Africa whom they are supposed to play over two legs in July and August.
“Today’s press conference will be restricted only to Likuena’s journey to Cape Verde in respect to the AFCON qualifiers,” Mohapi said.
“Any other issue pertaining to the decision that the association will take, we kindly ask that it be deferred to next week when the NEC would have decided the way forward.
“The only reason why we are proposing to deal with the issue later is so that we give the NEC adequate time to make some critical decisions. So, it will be pre-mature to reveal the decision when there are still outstanding processes.”
Meanwhile, Maliehe told the press conference that his team did everything in their power towards securing Lesotho’s first ever qualification for AFCON.
“For the game with Cape Verde, we had prepared the team very well and we had no injuries and all the players were fully fit.
“As much as we had a long journey to Cape Verde, it did not affect the players as we had two days to recover and prepare for the game.
“We had two options to qualify and the first, which was also the most important, was to win our game and not to expect favours from the other teams that were also in action on the same day.
“We could also qualify with a draw based on how other teams play but that was not really my focus. We had told our players from the word go that our game was a must win,” Maliehe said.
The Likuena gaffer said their plan was to get an early goal but it was not easy as Cape Verde also had a chance to qualify and that put them in an awkward position.
He also said that they were made to believe that a point would be enough to take them to Egypt and that is why they ended up being defensive towards the end of the match.
“We had gone there to win and nothing else but Cape Verde was all over us.
“Lack of information also affected us negatively. I think we also didn’t make proper arrangements to follow the other match. At the same time, I didn’t want to focus a lot on it as it would have confused my players.
“I asked somebody to check the score for me at half-time and I was told it was still goalless yet Tanzania was already leading by the 17th minute.
“But I wouldn’t blame it on anyone because we didn’t want to distract our players with the other game.
“I know everyone has his own opinion but I want to congratulate my players because they played very well. It’s different being in the stadium and watching the game from television. The players worked hard and fought hard against a Cape Verde side that was also throwing everything to us,” Maliehe said.