Defiant Lioli sound battle cry

By Moorosi Tsiane

MASERU — Lioli head-coach Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu has vowed to break Lesotho football’s
international jinx by taking the Premier League champions past the group stage of the 2014 African
Champions League.

Tse Nala, as Lioli are affectionately known, leave today for Luanda to face Angolan champions
Primeiro de Agosto on Saturday in the preliminary round, first leg tie of the African showpiece. With
the reverse fixture scheduled for a week later at the Setsoto Stadium, Mokhothu is fully aware of the importance of a good result away from home.

The Lioli mentor has not lost sight of the fact that the Teyateyaneng giants failed to make it past
the opening round of the competition in two previous attempts after falling to Ugandan and Zimbabwean opposition.

While lamenting a short camping period, Mokhothu is still happy his charges responded well to the
intensive training they have had to go through to compensate for lost time.

“Our preparations have gone on quite well although we did not camp for as long as we would have
wanted due to a limited budget. We would have wanted to go into camp in December but because of lack of funds, this was not possible,” hesaid.

Mokhothu hailed the 10-time Angolan league champions, but insisted Lioli would not be intimidated
by the team’s impressive reputation, which includes reaching the final of the 1998 African Cup Winners Cup.

“I have noticed that they are a very good team which plays our type of passing football, but that
does not mean we are going into the match as rank underdogs.

“Our boys understand how important a win is for us, and they know winning away from home is
key in such international games.

“The players also know no other team from Lesotho has gone past the opening round in the Champions League era (which began in 1998), and they are looking at being the first local side to do so.

“The spirit is high in camp and the players want to prove that they can do it; they are all eager to fly
the country’s flag high in this continental showpiece. They are a very strong team with a lot of character and are determined to write their own piece of history.”

Mokhothu said after leading the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) in two abortive Champions League expeditions, he now knows what to expect in the tournament, which involves all the league champions from respective African nations.

“I have been in this competition twice before although I was not lucky to go past the first round. But
I believe my experience will be invaluable coming into these crucial matches,” said Mokhothu.
Tse Nala have several players who have tasted international football at both junior and senior level
and Mokhothu believes such exposure would be crucial in the continental safari.

“Having players with international experience makes things a bit easy for me because they have
been there before and know what to expect at such a level. I sincerely believe they can bear the pressure that comes with international competitions, which is why we are optimistic going into this tournament.”

Yet Mokhothu has warned his players to be mentally and physically prepared for “psychological
games” such international matches are traditionally renowned for.

“The boys have to be mentally and physically sound in order to withstand the mind games that
will come from their opponents,” Mokhothu said.

“They must also be prepared for a hostile reception from the supporters who always play a very important role as the 12th player in Defiant Lioli sound battle cry to make the nation proud,” Ramoseeka said.

The team’s head-of-delegation, Rantsubise Matete, said Lioli were supposed to leave yesterday but the trip had to be rescheduled to today.

“The only available flight to Angola will be on Thursday, which is why the trip was postponed to that
day,” Matete said on Tuesday. Lioli squad Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane, Liteboho Mokhehle
Defenders: Mafa Moremoholo, Bokang Sello, Shetsane Ramoseeka, Basia Makepe, Kopano Tseka
Midfielders: Tsoanelo Koetle, Bushy Moletsane, Motlalepula Mofolo, Montoeli Sonopo, Jerry Kamela,
Teboho Lekhooa, Lekhanya Lekhanya Strickers: Bafokeng Mosala, Nkoto Masoabi, Tsepo Lekhoana, Tšepo Seturumane.

such tournaments.” Mokhothu however, said bad weather had affected the team’s preparations
over the past few days.

“It has been raining since Thursdaylast we ek, and the training facilitiesa re also a major challenge
we have experienced since we started camp on January 27 at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.”
Lioli won their last Premier League match 1-0 against Nyenye Rovers last weekend to return to
the summit of the 14-team Premiership table while their Angolan counterparts are also top of the Angolan Premier League.

“We have been playing well and it appears so have Agosto, so I expect a very good contest on Saturday,” said Mokhothu.

Meanwhile, Lioli welcome back prolific striker, Tšepo Lekhooana who was supposed to join South African National First Division side, United FC, last month. The two teams, however, agreed the hitman should stay at Lioli until the end of the season.

Speaking about the upcoming contest team captain, Sheetsane Ramoseeka, said the team is determined to make Basotho proud after years of disappointment.

“I am satisfied with the commitment I have seen from our guys in training and we are prepared

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