LIKUENA have an uphill task to rejuvenate their Cosafa Cup ho9pes when they take on defending champions Zambia this afternoon in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The Leslie Notši-coached outfit goes into the match under immense pressure following a 3-1 loss to eSwatini in their opening match at Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday.
Felix Badernhost opened the scoring for eSwatini before Tumelo Khutlang levelled matters for Likuena shortly before half-time.
Mkhontfo Khethokuhle then restored eSwatini’s lead before Fanelo Mamba wrapped up the win for them.
The defeat leaves Likuena with all to do in their tie against Zambia. Even then a victory would not be enough should they lose their upcoming fixtures against Botswana and hosts, South Africa.
Likuena who finished the match with one man down after Jane Thabantšo was red carded within the first 10 minutes of the match for reckless tackle will be hoping for change of fortunes.
Notši admitted that they are faced with an uphill task but said he hopes they come back as a better side.
He said the red card messed things up for them and ruined their game plan.
“We had a good first half in our first match and we dominated despite us being one man down. We also created some chances but unfortunately, we didn’t bury them,” said Notši.
“The second half was a different ball game all together and playing with one man down made it a bit difficult for us in the defensive phase.
“I think our boys did well it was a bit tight for us going forward but we will have to go back recovery and we hope to come back better next match.
“The red card really hampered our game plan because we were forced to change how we wanted to play. The boys however showed character and I appreciate that. We will have to engage ourselves more in the next match and hope we get the maximum results,” he said.
The second match of the group saw South Africa beating Botswana 1-0.
There have been changes in the playing format as there are no longer three but two groups of five teams each. This after the late withdrawal of Madagascar from the tournament.
The top two nations in each group will advance to the semi-finals of the regional tournament.
Group B comprises of West African guest nation, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique.