LIKUENA coach, Moses Maliehe has declared his team ready for the quarter-final clash with Swaziland (now Eswatini) in the regional COSAFA Cup scheduled for Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane this Saturday.
The two countries are among teams that have been given a bye to start the competition in the quarterfinals after good performances in the previous editions of the regional tournament.
Maliehe headed to the competition with a required list of twenty players having dropped Lebajoa Mosehlenyane and Mosiuoa Boseka while American based and former Kick4Life left-back, Lesia Thetsane was a late addition to the squad.
“I think we had good preparations and we are now ready to take on Swaziland in the quarterfinals on Saturday,” Maliehe said.
“We had to cut the squad to a group of 20 players as per competition requirements and made a late change to add Thetsane to the team, as as we felt he has gathered enough experience in America to help the team in this tournament.”
Likuena were last week in South Africa as part of their preparations where they played friendly games against the likes of Jomo Cosmos.
“I think those matches really helped us a lot as Cosmos is involved in the promotion/relegation and are among a few teams that are still active as all clubs have gone on holidays after a long season,” Maliehe told this publication.
“But it was a good test for our players because they also got a chance to be addressed by the legendary Jomo Sono, who was impressed with what he saw from our team.
“I think all the players are in good condition and have managed to have a few weeks training together,” he said.
Maliehe admitted that his side face a mammoth task ahead of the clash with the Swazi side that is high on confidence after clinching a morale boosting 1-0 win over Kenya in Nairobi this past weekend.
Maliehe also said the fact that Swaziland Premier League side, Mbabane Swallows have been doing well in the CAF Champions League gives them the edge over his team going to the Saturday’s match.
Swallows have seven players named in the Sihlangu squad including captain of both the club and country in Tony Tsabezde, alongside the likes of Felix Badenhorst and Wonder Nhleko, among their high profile players.
Added Maliehe: “Indeed, that’s a plus to them as a team. It gives them the edge and it’s something that we need to do as a country to have our champions doing well in continental competition.
“I had a chat with their national team coach recently and they are also worried about us because we have always given them problems too, but they are a very dedicated side.
“We will have to be at our best to beat them and I expect an interesting game. The strongest will emerge as the winner in the end.
“But like I said, our goal as Likuena is to get to the final and we will take it from there.”