Our national rugby and soccer teams did us very proud at the weekend by getting the better of Botswana and Swaziland respectively.
Likuena drew 1-1 versus Botswana’s Zebras, but still reached the next round of the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN where they will play Zimbabwe in October. On the other hand, the rugby team, Likatola, beat Swaziland 13-10 to qualify for category C of continental rugby—a commendable feat for a team that is relatively new to the international stage but appears to improve with each outing.
For the national football side, Likuena, it was always going to be difficult to beat the Zebras in their own backyard we failed to win the first leg tie here at home.
Coach Seephephe Matete has been under tremendous pressure over the past few weeks due to lack of results and I believe eliminating Botswana, albeit on the away goals rule, came as a huge relief for the veteran mentor.
The fact that Matete was facing so much criticism was because people still believed in his team and all they were doing was help him change his tactics which were clearly not working.
I feel the criticism was positive because most of the pundits were urging the coach to go for two strikers—which he did in Botswana—instead of employing a system that plays with a lone striker.
The return of Thapelo Tale made a big difference as we all know that the striker gives defenders a hell of a time whenever he is on the pitch, but it was the duo of Litšepe Marabe and Thabiso Brown, who made a huge change after coming into the game as substitutes.
Marabe was the league’s top scorer with 22 goals last season while Brown did very well with Kick4Life, netting 10 goals in his first year of topflight football and both deserve a chance to play in the national team.
I guess the call for two strikers by analysts was justified as the two players combined to score that important goal in Gaborone.
I just hope the coach will stick with this formation going forward as scoring goals has been one of our major problems as far as Likuena are concerned.
We have long pleaded with the coach to use the two strikers because they were among the best forwards in domestic football last season.
The fact that the team managed to overcome problems which rocked their camp leading to the match against Botswana really proved our ability and character.
Star player Tšoanelo Koetle, Motlalepula Mofolo and Tumelo Khutlang were booted out of the team due to disciplinary issues with the Zebras looming large, leaving the nation fearful of yet more disappointment in Gaborone.
Without a doubt, that was a good call from the coach and I hope the players have learnt that no one is bigger than the team and they should also respect themselves as well as their country.
The whole squad and the coaches deserve a pat on the shoulder for a job well done, and hopefully, they will be in fine fettle once again when they meet Zimbabwe.
They showed character and gave Botswana a great fight when almost everyone had thrown in the towel.
Again, I just hope Likuena keep this momentum going to their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria in September.
With that winning spirit, who knows maybe? Maybe we can stun the number one-ranked country on our continent!