Battle of the kingdoms

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File.Likatola vs Swaziland (3)…as Likatola face Swazi counterparts

Mikia Kalati

Lesotho’s national rugby team, Likatola, are ready for their Swaziland counterparts as the two nations face-off in a potentially explosive match set for Saturday in Maseru.

Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) secretary, Litšitso Motšeremeli, told the Lesotho Times that “it’s all systems go” for the weekend match to be played at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.

Malawi were supposed to join Lesotho and Swaziland for a tri-nations series but withdrew because of lack of funds, according to Motšeremeli.

Last year, Lesotho and Swaziland met twice, with Likatola winning the first encounter 5-3 in Maseru before losing the return leg 13-0 in Mbabane.

However, Motšeremeli said Swaziland would not stand a chance in the weekend match, whose winner is expected to be elevated to a higher level of continental rugby.

“We are ready to take on Swaziland; our team has been training together for a long time now, hence our confidence that we will get a positive result come Saturday,” Motšeremeli said.

“The coach (Roy Nyasha Zhou) has now trimmed the squad to 25 from the initial group of 30 players and they are all looking forward to the match.”

Motšeremeli said it was unfortunate that Malawi had withdrawn from what had looked to be an exciting tournament.

“It’s unfortunate that Malawi have withdrawn from the competition, and it is now only us and Swaziland fighting for honours,” said Motšeremeli.

“In this competition, nations have been grouped according to their regions and the winners will graduate to a higher level of continental rugby, hence our determination to win at all costs.

“This tells you that the match against Swaziland will be very important for this country as a win will ensure we go up the ladder of African rugby.”

According to Motšeremeli, local rugby has experienced relative growth since the FLR was established in 2012. Two local teams now take part in an amateur league of the Free State, South Africa, which confirms this growth.

“We value rugby a lot as a federation and our national team will go all out to win against Swaziland. The standard of rugby in Lesotho has improved over the years and a win against Swaziland will help in further developing the game in our country.

“The objective is to work hard and push for more development, which should come with a win against Swaziland on Saturday,” Motšeremeli said.

“I’m confident that the coach will select players who will help us achieve that goal because like I said, Saturday’s match means so much to us; a lot would be at stake in that match.”

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