Let’s not lose our heads

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Moorosi Tsiane

MASERU was brought to a standstill on Sunday afternoon following an impressive performance by the senior national team that saw them edge South Africa 3-2 in a CHAN qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.

Tšepo Seturumane, Hlompho Kalake and Lehlohonolo Fothoane were all on target for Likuena while Bafana Bafana’s goals came from captain Tercious Malepe (penalty) and second half substitute Luvuyo Phewa.

This was the first time for Likuena to beat Bafana Bafana in an official match, let alone to score three goals past them and they did so in style in front of 15 000 strong home crowd.

It was a good showing by our boys, and I was impressed by the attitude they showed towards the match.

That South Africa brought a side that was predominantly made up of under-23 players. That is a choice they made and who are we to challenge them?

They had their reasons and I think it is only good that Likuena beat them especially here at home. I can’t even think of the humiliation the boys would have suffered had they lost the match.

However, this win should immediately vanish in our players mindsets as they prepare for the return leg at Dobson Ville Stadium on Sunday, which without any doubt is going to be a tougher encounter.

The Leslie Notši-coached side needs just a draw to advance to the next phase of the qualifiers and face either Mauritius or Zimbabwe. On the other hand, South Africa needs just a 1-0 win to proceed.

This will be a tough encounter for Lesotho, and it is now important for the technical team to work on the side’s mental strength to ensure that they cope with the pressure.

I think there will be so much pressure going into this match with the boys knowing that conceding just once would mean they need to score more than twice.

The biggest worry now is that in as much as the team managed to create chances and convert, they also conceded easily.

South Africa were threatening in aerial attacks and Likuena goalkeeper Thabiso Lichaba failed to deal with those crosses to the hunky and lanky forwards Bongokhuhle Hlongwane.

South Africa is using these matches to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, and I am sure they will throw everything at Likuena to proceed to the next stage of the tournament.

Likuena players need to be ready, the technical team needs to work mostly on the shaky defence.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done going into the second leg and hopefully, the players will remain confident and exude the same attitude they showed on Sunday and absorb everything that South Africa throws at them.

Best of luck Likuena!

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