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Likuena target Angola scalp

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

Likuena coach, Seephephe Matete has added three new players to the national football squad which went into camp this week to begin preparations for next month’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group C qualifier against Angola.

Lesotho host Angola on 10 October at Setsoto stadium, and face the same Palancas Negras five days later in Luanda in their third and fourth matches of the group stage campaign, after losing the first tie 2-0 to Burkina Faso and drawing one-all with Gabon in the second fixture.

With a single point from their two matches, Matete has called the two matches against Angola “must win ties” if Likuena are to keep alive their hopes of playing in next year’s Afcon tournament to be held in Morocco.

Lesotho has never qualified for the two-yearly continental showpiece, but Matete believes his current crop of players is good enough to make history and be among the 16 teams in Morocco for the 17 January to 8 February 2015 tournament.

“The matches against Angola are very important to us, both as a team and nation, which is why we need everyone to play their part—from the players, the supporters, the football authorities and corporate sector—for us to emerge victorious,” Matete told the Lesotho Times this week.

“We will do our part as players, but we also appeal to the supporters to fill Setsoto stadium to the rafters because the 12th man, the fans, will be very important on the day.”

Matete noted because of the red card shown to goalkeeper Mohau Kuenane in last week’s draw against Gabon at Setsoto, he had been forced to bring in replacements for the otherwise very reliable minder.

“Because Kuenane won’t be eligible to play against Angola at Setsoto due to his dismissal for handling the ball outside his goalkeeping area in our match against Gabon, we have brought in Bantu goalkeepers Kholuoe Phasumane and Liteboho Mokhesi, who are both very experienced, and should be able to do the nation proud.”

Phasumane, it would be noted, was Likuena’s first-choice keeper at the 2013 Cosafa tournament held in Zambia, as Kuenane was nursing an injury and therefore, unavailable for the regional competition in which Lesotho reached the semifinals.

Matete also said he had called-up national under-20 team (Makoanyane XI) striker, Thabiso Brown, who was very prolific for the youth side during Lesotho’s 2015 African Youth Championship qualifiers.

The 19-year-old forward has also been impressive for Premier League rookies, Kick4Life, in his first year playing topflight football.

“He has shown a lot of promise and we have given him a chance to show what he can do at this level,” said Matete.

“Of-course, we won’t put the boy under unnecessary pressure and will give him all the time he needs to adapt to life in the senior team, and see how it goes.”

Matete further said he needed all his players for the Angola ties, including America-based midfielder Jane Tšotleho, who did not feature against Burkina Faso and Gabon because the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) had run out of funds to foot his travel expenses.

“Jane remains part of the team, and like I said, we need each and every player to help us beat Angola and he is a very important member of our team.”

According to Matete, the technical department would appreciate it if the corporate world would also help Likuena, by among others, flying Tšotleho home and back to the US during the ongoing Afcon campaign.

Meanwhile, the veteran coach noted Likuena would train together for the first three days of the week, with the players returning to their respective teams on Thursday to prepare for weekend league and Cup matches.

“We are having the players for the first three days of every week and they will only come for fulltime camp after the Independence Top 4 tournament set for the weekend of 4-5 October,” Matete said, adding he would not underrate Angola, who have lost both their opening group stage ties against Burkina Faso (0-3) and Gabon (1-0).

Likuena squad

Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane, Kananelo Makhooane, Kholuoe Phasumane, Liteboho Mokhesi.

Defenders: Moitheri Ntobo (captain), Thabo Masualle, Jerry Kamele, Basia Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi, Tšoanelo Koetle, Sepiriti Malefane, Thapelo Mokhehle.

Midfielders: Bushy Moletsane, Motlalepula Mofolo, Ralekoti Mokhahlane, Makara Ntaitsane, Jane Tšotleho, Mabuti Potloane, Phafa Tšosane, Lekhanya Lekhanya.

Strikers: Thapelo Tale, Tšepo Lekhooana, Tšepo Seturumane, Thabiso Brown.

 

Full Group C results and fixtures

06/09/14: Gabon 1-0 Angola

06/09/14: Burkina Faso 2-0 Lesotho

10/09/14: Angola 0-3 Burkina Faso

10/09/14: Lesotho 1-1 Gabon

10-11/10/14: Gabon v Burkina Faso

10-11/10/14: Lesotho v Angola

15/10/14: Burkina Faso v Gabon

15/10/14: Angola v Lesotho

14-15/11/14: Lesotho v Burkina Faso

14-15/11/14: Angola v Gabon

19/11/14: Burkina Faso v Angola

19/11/14: Gabon v Lesotho.

 

Latest Group C table

 

P W D L GF GA Pts
Burkina Faso 2 2 0 0 5 0 6
Gabon 2 1 1 0 2 1 4
Lesotho 2 0 1 1 1 3 1
Angola 2 0 0 2 0 4 0

 

 

 

 

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