Sport

Notši welcomes ‘fair’ World Cup draw

Moorosi Tsiane

LESOTHO Football Association (LeFA) technical director Leslie Notši has welcomed the 2022 Qatar World Cup preliminary round of qualifiers draw where Likuena will face Ethiopia calling it a chance for Likuena to revenge.

The two sides have previously met was in June 2016 when Ethiopia beat Lesotho 2-1 both at home and here in Maseru during the 2017 AFCON qualifiers.

The sides clash again, first in Ethiopia on 2 September 2019 before wrapping up the round in Maseru a fortnight later.

The continent’s 28 lowest ranked sides, according to last month’s FIFA rankings, were part of the Monday draw at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) offices in Cairo.

The 14 preliminary round winners over two legs, and the 26 countries who received byes will be split into 10 groups of four after a fresh draw with the first round of matches penned in for next March.

But Notši says it is time for Ethiopia, who are ranked five places lower than Lesotho in the latest FIFA rankings, pay back for beating Likuena in 2016.

“I think this was a fair draw for the country, I know it is not going to be easy for us to beat Ethiopia, but we are capable of doing it,” Notši said.

Notši, who is also currently the Likuena interim coach, said Lesotho’s football standards have improved and he is confident that they have the quality to beat Ethiopia.

“With the way our teams are playing at club level and the way the graph of the national team has improved, there are possibilities of us winning this tie and this is payback time considering they beat us last time.

“At club level, we have improved immensely and that will give whoever is appointed coach a chance to select a formidable team.”

He said he was not worried about the fact that the first leg will be played before the commencement of the domestic league saying Lesotho now has capable coaches who can prepare a good team during the pre-season.

“I have been engaging some of the premier league coaches over their pre-season preparations and I was impressed with how they are conducting their sessions, so it is not really a big worry. They have been pushing a lot because the anticipation was that the league would start by the end of August.

“We also have other players in the national team preparing for the CHAN qualifiers while others are in foreign leagues whose leagues are starting this weekend, so we are not too worried about fitness.

“What is left is only for me to assist whoever will be appointed the national team coach and ensure that they pick a tough team,” he said.

He said he was also convinced that local players can now score goals.

“It is encouraging that we are now capable of scoring. The COSAFA tournament and the latest matches that we played proved that our side is increasingly confident. If they are fit, I am sure they can deliver good results,” Notši said.

 

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