OUR beloved senior national team-Likuena will be in action on Sunday when they face Cape Verde in a crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
This is a make or break match tie for Moses Maliehe and his charges as a win against the Blue Sharks will guarantee Likuena their debut appearance in the continental competition.
This is not just an opportunity for the players to rewrite the history of local football but also change the perceptions of most national teams, who have regarded Likuena as the weeping boys of the continent.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for this crop of players.
This is why I want to applaud both the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and the Premier League Management Committee for investing efforts ensure that the team prepares well for the match by postponing league matches a week earlier.
This allowed Likuena to have a weeklong training camp at the University of Pretoria High-Performances Centre, which has a lot of great facilities to help the team prepare for the crucial game.
I think that was a wise move by both parties especially LeFA, who have given coach Moses Maliehe all his needs for the preparations.
The high-performance centre offers a lot when it comes to preparing athletes for big sporting events but what I’m happiest about is that the players are getting proper counselling sessions to prepare them mentally and physically for Cape Verde on Sunday.
We all know that playing away from home in Africa can come with a lot of challenges and it is crucial for the players to prepare psychologically.
It will also be important as the Basotho nation to get behind the team with everything that we have. As a country that is largely Christian, it would be prudent for all people of faith and leaders to have a special prayer this coming Sunday, the same day that our beloved team will play Cape Verde.
The players also have to come to the party on the day by giving all they can to ensure that they win the match against all odds
This is a moment that could go on to change their lives forever. They will go down as the most successful Likuena side of all time and all they have to do is to believe in their abilities.
Qualifying for the tournament could also open doors to greener pastures for the players as this will surely attract a lot of scouts.
While there have been question marks about the team that was selected by Maliehe, I think he has selected the best that he could possibly pick and also had to make tough decisions along the way.
Looking at the team, Likuena has the most experienced goalkeeper in Sam Ketsekile, who will compete with youngsters Monaheng Ramalefane and Tankiso Chaba, who are yet to prove themselves at that level despite doing well at club level.
Ketsekile has been playing international football for more than a decade and we need him to produce the same form like he did when Likuena beat Tanzania in their last match last November.
In defence, Nkau Lerotholi and Basia Makepe are expected to lead by example from the back as the most experienced centre-backs who have also won the captain’s armband for the national team.
The midfield has been reinforced with the return of Tšoanelo Koetle after a long absence and should do the donkeywork for the team along with Sepiriti Malefane.
Tshwarelo Bereng has had a good second with Black Leopards in South African and this is a chance for him to transfer his club form to the national team.
In his previous matches for Likuena, Bereng showed a lot of quality but at that stage, he lacked match fitness because he was not playing regularly at club level. However, that has changed for the better in recent months and we will all be looking to him to make things happen in the final third against Cape Verde.
In attack, the likes of Motebang Sera, Tumelo Khutlang, Jane Thabantšo and Hlompho Kalake, have previously risen to the occasion when they are needed in big matches and this time around, we need them and their goals more than ever.
The most important thing for me is for Likuena to be fearless on the day and ensure that they are rock solid at the back because if Cape Verde is coming with the same team they fielded in the first leg tie, then we definitely have a good chance of beating them.
This group is still wide open as only leaders Uganda have already booked their place for the tournament to be staged in Egypt later this year while Cape Verde, Tanzania and Lesotho, all have a chance of qualifying on the final day of the qualifiers.
Good luck Likuena!