LIKUENA gave their best performance of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on Sunday beating Tanzania 1-0 to liven their hopes of booking a place at next year’s tournament to be staged in Cameroon.
Likuena was the better team throughout the match and should have won by a bigger margin had they been more clinical in front of goal.
The Taifa Stars’, the legendary Emmanuel Amunike, also admitted in the post-match interviews that Lesotho were the better team on the day and deserved all three points.
I was impressed with the performance of anchorman Sepiriti Malefane, who was recently recalled into the squad and on the day he showed that he has been the missing link in the team.
Credit must also go to LCS coach Mpitsa Marai for reviving Malefane’s career as he has been outstanding and looks to be enjoying his football again.
Malefane made the headlines for the wrong reasons a few years ago but he now looks focused on his football and is doing what he knows best.
On the day, we were solid and did not give cheap possession like we did last month during the back-to-back defeats to Uganda.
The pairing of Nkau Lerotholi and Basia Makepe worked well for the team while Sam Ketsekile also had a good game in goals.
Malefane’s presence also worked wonders for Tšepo Toloane, who was previously played as the anchorman but on Sunday played a more advanced mid role (number eight) and I think the two players developed a good understanding in the middle of the park. They complemented each other well.
Indeed, Likuena made all of us proud on the day and what matters is that the dream of playing at the tournament for the very first time is still alive.
We now need all the stakeholders involved in football to make this dream possible by putting all the resources needed available to help the team go and complete the mission in Cape Verde in March next year.
Maliehe’ side drew nil all with the Blue Sharks in August at Setsoto Stadium although that is a match which I still think we should have won. However, that is in the past.
All that is important are the preparations for the return leg to be played early next year. Likuena needs nothing but a win to join already qualified Uganda as the two teams from this group to book a place at the Cameroons tournament.
It was satisfying that the team beat Tanzania in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Monyane Moleleki and the Minister of Sports, Mahali Phamotse, who have both been regulars at the team’s matches.
I believe they can both play a huge role in ensuring that the team makes history when they travel to Cape Verde for the crucial match next year.
This is a trip where the team would need a chartered flight to make it easy for them to reach Cape Verde and also ensure that they have the best preparations leading to that important game.
Tabling incentives too can also help make the dream possible if the government and Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) work together and offer the players a monetary reward to beat the Blue Sharks.
The win against Tanzania came after the team got incentives from previous matches and who knows, another incentive may do the trick. Not to suggest that the players should not win if they do not get any money but the proof is there that a motivated team always plays better.