RUSTENBURG-Likuena were beaten 2-0 by Swaziland last night to crash out of the Cosafa tournament in the first round of the tournament with one more match to go against Tanzania.
Lesotho lost their opening match 2-1 against Madagascar on Monday and needed to beat Swaziland to remain in contention for a place in the next stage of the regional competition.
However, the national football team fell short once again and were comprehensively beaten by a super-charged Swazi side, which all-but secured a place in the quarterfinal after beating Tanzania 2-0 in their opening match on Monday.
In last night’s tie, Likuena coach, Seephephe Matete, was forced to make changes to the team that played the first match, with Bokang ‘Lefty’ Mothoana and Thapelo Tale unavailable due to injury, while America-based Jane ‘Sunny’ was relegated to the bench.
With Lesotho the better side in the opening stage of the tie, it appeared only a matter of time before they found the back of the net. In fact, Nkoto Masoabi should have scored in the 30th minute, but instead, ballooned the ball over the cross bar with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Swaziland then made Lesotho pay for the loss, breaking the deadlock in the 40th minute through Xolani Sibandze after the Likuena defence had failed to clear the ball inside the penalty area.
Swaziland nearly doubled the score three minutes before half-time but fluffed the chance.
The second half saw Matete withdrawing Mabuti Potloane and replacing him with Hlompho Kalake, who also struggled to make an impression.
And things went from bad to worse for Likuena as Swaziland scored their second goal in the 66th minute through Mthunzi Mkhontfo.
Matete then made more changes, bringing in Tumelo Khutlang for Mohau Rammoneng. The Sundawana forward managed to change the complexion of the game but could not find the much-needed goal.
After the match, Matete told the Lesotho Times that he was disappointed with the two losses, which make tomorrow’s match against Tanzania academic.
“It’s obvious that we are not happy with the outcome of the match, but at the same time, it was a learning curve for us,” Matete said.
“Unfortunately, we had to make forced changes due to injuries to some key players.”
Matete said he was happy with the progress of the team as the regional tournament formed part of his 2017 Africa Cup Nations preparations.
“It is disappointing to lose two matches on the trot, but we have learnt a lot and will go back to the drawing board to prepare for the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, the only positive in yesterday’s match was the outstanding performance of Tšoanelo Koetle, which earned him the man-of-the-match award.