FOLLOWING an outstanding performance in dismissing Bafana Bafana in the CHAN qualifiers, Likuena players are smiling all the way to the bank after being handed R10 000 each for their heroics by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA).
Likuena edged Bafana Bafana 3-2 at Setsoto Stadium two weeks ago but were too hot to handle for their opponents on Sunday emphatically thumping their hosts 0-3 at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.
Jane Thabantšo second half brace and a Hlompho Kalake score was all that Leslie Notsi’s charges needed to break South African hearts to win the tie 6-2 on aggregate.
South Africa needed just a goal for no reply from Likuena to proceed to the next stage and looked dangerous early into the match playing diagonal balls looking to attack from the wings.
But Notsi’s charges stood firm and absorbed the pressure frustrating the hosts for the entire first half where Bafana only managed one shot on target but that too was dealt with by goalkeeper Thabiso Lichaba.
Things took a different turn in the second half with Thabantšo breaking the deadlock four minutes after the break.
South Africa tried to push numbers forward and, in the process, got exposed on the break and Thabantšo scored his second goal to make life difficult for Bafana Bafana.
Kalake however, scored the third goal in the referee’s optional time when it seemed Likuena would settle for the two goals.
It was after this performance that the LeFA national executive committee (NEC) decided to give each member of the team M10 000.
This was announced by LeFA president Salemane Phafane on Sunday.
“You have done very well boys, you have done your parents, the nation, your families and us as the association very proud by beating South Africa after several unsuccessful attempts,” Phafane said.
“It is because of this performance and results that we have decided that each member of the gets M10 000.”
Commenting on his charges’ performance, Notši commended them for putting up a good show and said their strong point was self-belief.
“We are happy with the results and we give all the credit to the boys. Their strong point was the self- belief going into the match, the fitness level was also good together with their mental strength. This why they managed to contain South Africa.
“The plan was to stay behind the ball, and we knew they were going to get frustrated and we knew that was where we were going to catch them. The boys executed that plan well and we won the match,” Notši said after the match.
Notši also thanked Basotho, who rallied behind their team.
“I thank Basotho for coming out in such big numbers to rally behind this team. That means a lot to us and the boys and we are very grateful.”
Notši, who is also the LeFA technical director, said he was happy that the team has improved on this year’s COSAFA performance where they finished fourth.
“It looks like we have taken few steps forward from this year COSAFA performance which, to me, is good news. Most importantly, we are now able to score goals, and all this comes with self-belief.”
In the next CHAN qualifier, Likuena will play Zimbabwe during the weekend of 20 to 22 September 2019 in Maseru with the return match set for the 18 to 20 October 2019 weekend.