Lerotholi’s best career moment

Mikia Kalati

LIKUENA defender Nkau Lerotholi says netting the winner that kept the national team’s hope of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is a moment that he will cherish forever.

The veteran defender scored the only goal late in the game against Tanzania on Sunday to catapult Likuena to second in Group L and better revive their chances of a debut continental appearance.

Moses Maliehe’s side now needs a victory over Cape Verde in their last match in March 2019 to secure a spot in the tournament to be staged in Cameroon.

Lerotholi and goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile are the longest serving members of the Likuena squad with the former having captained the team during the tenure of Seephephe Matete in 2015.

“It was a very important moment because the match was a must win for the national team,” Lerotholi said.

“We needed that goal and to win that match and keep our hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations alive. It was a historic moment for my career. I will never forget it.”

Lerotholi, who was not part of the Likuena squad in Maliehe’s first two years returned to the team earlier this year and also featured in one match at the COSAFA Cup.

However, he has since found his way back into the team getting regular call-ups partnering club teammate Basia Makepe in the heart of the defence.

“I always believed that I would get called into the team although it was not for a long time but my door will also be open if the coach believes in my ability. However, I will soon make way for younger players.

“I think on Sunday we had the determination which was key in us beating Tanzania. We will have to take the same spirit to our last match in Cape Verde and work hard.

“The good thing is that we now know how they play having met them in the first leg. We also know which players to watch out for.

“All we will have to do going into that match is to prepare ourselves well and be ready to fight for the three points,” he said.

The former Matlama skipper said qualifying for the continental competition for the first time will be similar to playing in a World Cup.

“It will be a historic moment for our country. Several generations before us have been trying to achieve it without luck.

“If we succeed, for me it will be like playing in the World Cup. It will be a momentous moment for football in our country,” Lerotholi said.

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