LIKUENA coach Thabo Senong says although his charges failed to advance into the group stages of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers, he is happy with how they acquitted themselves against Ethiopia at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
Lesotho was held to a goalless draw by Ethiopia, a result that saw Likuena bowing out of the qualifiers in the preliminary qualifiers via the away goal’s rule having drawn 0-0 in Bahir Dah on 4 September 2019.
The Thabo Senong coached outfit went into last weekend’s match under pressure knowing that they needed a win to advance to the next phase of the qualifiers.
Senong had made only one change from the team that played Ethiopia with Tswarelo Bereng getting the nod ahead of Lehlohonolo Fothoane.
However, things didn’t work out well for Senong and his charges as they conceded early in the second half through Nkau Lerotholi’s own goal.
But Likuena fought to get back into the match with Tšepo Seturumane finding an equaliser shortly afterwards. However, Seturumane’s goal was not enough to help the team advance to the group stages.
And Senong says in as much as he was disappointed that they failed to make it to the group stages, he was impressed with his team’s performance.
“Of course, we are disappointed that we have failed to make it to the group stages but this was a good game where we tactically applied ourselves well,” Senong said.
“We created chances in both halves but luck was elusive as evidenced by three strikes that found the cross bar. I am proud of the boys and we need to go back and prepare for upcoming fixtures.
“I do not blame any player for this loss, we just have to take it as a team. We tried all we could but we were unlucky to concede through an own goal against the run of play,” Senong said.
Senong said he was impressed with what he has seen in the two weeks that he has worked as the Likuena coach.
“I have not worked with the team for a long time but so far I am impressed with what I have seen, there is progress and there is hope.
“Now we need to go back to the drawing board because Zimbabwe is waiting for us in the CHAN qualifiers on 20 September and 18 November 2019. There are also Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the way against countries such as Nigeria and Sierra Leone so we need to work hard,” he said.
Asked if he intends to make more changes to the team, Senong said time would tell as he was yet to watch the domestic league which starts at this weekend.
“The league is starting so I will have time now to watch other players. The players will be selected according to their form. Of course, there will be radical changes but we will select players based on the time that the players get from their teams because football is all about match fitness, form and discipline, so that is what will earn players a call up in this team.
“I still need to watch them play for their clubs so that we can get the right combinations. We need to transform Likuena into a solid team,” Senong said.