Makoanyane XI on Sunday took a giant step towards qualification for next year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations after eliminating Mozambique from the tournament courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate score.
On the same day, the national team, Likuena, thumped Mauritius 3-0 in Namibia in their opening tie of the Cosafa tournament—their biggest ever win in the regional competition.
While there is still a long way to go for Likuena in terms of their all-round performance, the Mauritius victory could not have come at a better time for the team which had come under fire from the fans following four losses in five matches under caretaker coach Moses Maliehe.
It’s very rare that Likuena score three goals in a single match and it was very refreshing to see the players so clinical in front of goal and making history in the process.
Likuena took the lead through Jane Thaba-ntšo just 34 seconds into the match, which was the fastest goal in the history of the tournament.
I don’t remember seeing Likuena score as early as they did even against weaker opponents, but the difference on Sunday was the intentions were there from word go and the boys made use of the opportunities that came their way.
I was really shocked, but in a positive way, because the team has been struggling over the last month, losing against the likes of Swaziland, Botswana and Ethiopia and no one really expected them to win by such a margin as scoring goals has been one of the major problems for the team.
The win over Mauritius was also sweet revenge as they beat Likuena in the same competition last year.
Not only did we win convincingly on Sunday, Lesotho were also the better side in all departments throughout the match. That is why even Motebang Sera came from the bench to score his first goal for the national team.
The Matlama striker had a special premiership season, scoring 14 goals to become the league’s top goal-scorer. He had struggled to settle in the Likuena set-up, but I feel that goal against Mauritius could finally unlock his potential and be the bridge that had been missing for him to make the crucial crossover from club to international football.
As for the national under-20 team, Makoanyane XI, it is going to be tougher in the third and final stage of the qualifiers as they will be facing neighbours South Africa.
Well, I remember vividly that we faced the South Africans in the same qualifiers in 2011 and they never expected to lose to us, but they did.
Surely that is still fresh in their minds and they will come fully prepared for revenge.
But I have confidence in our team as they boast some of the best young players in this country.
Among them was Sundawana striker, Raboama Koloti, who scored in the win against Mozambique on Sunday.
The young man has proved himself at club level and was second to Sera on 13 goals in the premier league scoring charts.
But he is certainly a player for the future and I will not be surprised if some of the country’s big guns try to lure him away from Butha-Buthe before the new season starts.
But like I have said previously, these boys can only grow and become better with more international football.
All in all, it was a weekend to remember for our teams and I hope they continue to grow from strength to strength and do us proud.