Lesotho . . . . . . . . . (0) 2
Mozambique . . . . . (0) 1
MASERU — “They (Makoanyane XI) have good strikers but they need to work extra hard with their defence.”
That was the friendly advice from Helder Muiawga, the man in charge of Mozambique’s Under-23 team which lost to Makoanyane XI in a poorly attended friendly match on Sunday.
Muiawga said although his charges went down 2-1 at Setsoto Stadium he still noticed some glaring weaknesses in Makoanyane XI’s defence.
He said Makoanyane XI will have to work on their defence if they want to progress in the Confederation of African Football (Caf) youth championships tournament.
The eight-team tournament which was scheduled to start on March 19 in Libya was postponed last week after violent political protests hit the north African country.
With no end in sight to the protests that are calling for the ouster of Muammar Gadaffi, who has ruled the country since 1969, Caf decided to look for another host.
Although a new host is yet to be announced speculation is rife that the tournament could be moved to either South Africa or Ghana.
New dates are yet to be announced.
Makoanyane XI were using Sunday’s match against Mozambique to prepare for the event.
Muiawga told the Lesotho Times after the match that he believed that Lesotho had a fair chance of going through the preliminary stages of the tournament if they work hard on their defence which he said was porous.
Makoanyane XI defenders need to seriously avoid making unnecessary mistakes in the “dangerous zone”, he said.
“Strikers use every single chance they get to register a goal. Lesotho’s defence is the kind of defence that strikers can easily take advantage of.
“Half the time they are undecided, lack a sense of urgency and end up making unnecessary mistakes that can compromise the team’s performance,” Muiawga said.
It would seem Muiawga was preaching to the converted.
Makoanyane XI coach Leslie Notsi said the technical team is aware of the problems mentioned by Muiawga.
“These (lack of urgency and decision-making) are elements that we are aware of and are going to deal with them more seriously,” Notsi said.
“The boys do not release the ball early and in most cases fail to make the right decisions well in time to avoid making mistakes.”
He said this has resulted in Makoanyane XI failing to score more goals given the chances they get during every match.
“We must convert all the chances that we get but because we are in most cases undecided, we do not score more goals.”
Meanwhile, Notsi said his technical team is planning to bring new blood into the team before the Caf Youth Championships kick-off.
“The door is still open for new players. There are quite a number of players that I have already earmarked,” he said.
He however could not reveal their names or their respective teams.