INTERIM national team coach, Seephephe Matete, says he is confident Likuena can “spring a surprise” in Sunday’s second qualifier of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament against Algeria.
Likuena will lock horns with the Algerians, who are the number one-ranked team in Africa, in the crucial tie set for Setsoto stadium.
Matete told the Lesotho Times this week that morale was very high in the Likuena camp and expressed confidence they would do the country proud despite the Desert Warriors, as the Algerian football team is affectionately known, coming into the fixture as firm favourites.
“We have a plan to neutralise them since we have identified their weaknesses. We will try to capitalise on those flaws,” said Matete.
“I am aware that they easily get frustrated, and we will work on unsettling them, maybe with an early goal.”
He said there were under no illusions regarding Algeria’s quality, since most of the players in the North African side plied their trade in the European leagues. However, the manager said they would make full use of the chances they will create to ensure a positive result on Sunday.
“We know that they are a quality side full of top players, but football is football and it has its surprises,” Matete said.
“If we are clinical enough on the day, we will walk away with victory. That is the reason why the focal point of our sessions this week has been on goal-scoring.
“We just need to be clinical against such a top side and be organised because silly mistakes can be very costly against a team of their calibre.”
The Likuena mentor said he had injury concerns for skipper Nkau Matete and striker Thabiso Brown who are nursing minor knocks sustained during premier league matches played over the weekend.
Thapelo Tale is also not in camp, with Matete saying he was unaware of the striker’s whereabouts. Tale was recently embroiled in a transfer saga after trying to leave Likhopo to join Bantu.
“I, however, think we have a group of capable players who are motivated and willing to die for their country come match day,” said Matete.
“We have been training twice a day since coming for full camp and also played against such local teams as Sundawana whose squad consists of many foreign players.
“The idea behind playing against Sundawana was to orient ourselves with the physicality that the foreign players bring. We feel they can help us prepare for the Algeria tie.”
Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane, Kananelo Makhooane, Daniel Jouse,.
Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi, Mafa Moremoholo, Jerry Kamele, Motiki Mohale, Thapelo Mokhehle, Thabiso Mohapi, Poloko Mohale.
Midfield: Ralekoti Mokhahlane, Tšoanelo Koetle, Kefuoe Mahula, Hlompho Kalake, Jane Thabantšo, Bokang Mothoana Litšepe Marabe.
Strikers: Nkoto Masoabi, Thabiso Brown, Thabo Seakhoa, Tšepo Seturuma