D-day for Makoanyane XI
By Mikia Kalati
MASERU — Defiant Makoanyane XI coach, Moses Maliehe, is confident his team will beat Kenya tomorrow to keep their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Cosafa Under-20 tournament alive.
The home team were held to a two-all draw by underdogs Comoros in their opening match played at Setsoto Stadium on Tuesday.
The Lesotho mentor is aware that failure to beat the East Africans, who are the guest team will mean an early exit for the home side.
During post match interviews, Maliehe insisted his team was just unlucky not to have won their opening match against the tournament’s underdogs.
“We did everything right, but luck was just not on our side because on any given day we could have scored more than five goals,” Maliehe said.
He said they will go back to the drawing board to correct the nagging goal scoring problem leading to the tournament.
“We played a few friendly matches before the tournament and just like in the tie against Comoros; our main issue has been lack of goals.
Lesotho last played Kenya in the qualifiers of the 2011 African Youth Championship.
The then team coach, Leslie Notši, assisted by Maliehe triumphed 1-0 in the first leg match played in Nairobi through Tsebang Lebata’s goal.
The return match in Maseru ended goalless.
Likuena defender, Tlali Maile, who once captained the youth team, believes Makoanyane XI have a chance of making it past the group stages.
“They should not be discouraged by the draw in a match where they created so many chances,” said Maile.
“I think our team somehow underestimated Comoros who nearly stunned them. That should be a blessing in disguise or maybe a wake-up call that matches are won on the field of play,” he said.
Maile said Likuena had a similar course during the senior Cosafa Cup played in Zambia earlier this year.
“We played a draw in our opening match, but we put more effort and went on to reach the semi-finals,” Maile said.
Like everyone else, the Bantu skipper says Maliehe and his charges should work on their finishing.
“The players need to have that confidence when they are in goal scoring positions,” he said.
He said the Lesotho team was very impressive and could challenge the likes of Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa to win the tournament.
“They are comfortable on the ball and have everything you need from a football team, but they just need to work on their finishing. The boys also have our support and should use that to their advantage.
Makoanyane XI face Mauritius in their last match of the group stages on Monday.
The Lesotho team has never made it past the first round since losing in the final in 2005.