Home Sport Matete bullish after Kenya win

Matete bullish after Kenya win

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

National football team interim coach, Seephephe Matete, is confident his team will secure a place in the group stage of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The team, popularly known as Likuena, edged Kenya 1-0 on Sunday at Setsoto stadium, and need another win or a draw in the reverse fixture scheduled for Nairobi on 3 August, to book a place in the final qualifying phase of the competition.
Lesotho broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute through Tšepo Seturumane, who rose above the Kenya defence to head-in a good ball played by midfield-maestro, Bushy Moletsane.
“I must admit this was a very tough match against a very physical and strong Kenya side,” Matete said.
“Things did not go as planned in the first half, which saw us committing a lot of mistakes, which could have cost us dearly. I must say, I was desperately waiting for the referee to blow for the halftime break so I could have a talk with my boys.”
The veteran mentor praised his charges for the important, second-round, first-leg win, which he said boosted their chances of reaching the group stage of the biennial showpiece.
“I believe this win can help us achieve our goal of making it to the group stage,” said Matete.
“It was very important to win the first leg match here at home, although I would have loved to have at least won it by a 2-0 score-line.
“We might have started the match badly, but still the boys kept shape and did not allow Kenya to get to the dangerous positions, which ensured we did not concede any goal.
“One can tell that it is going to be war when we go to Nairobi for the second leg match, but we will have a good plan to finish them off in their own backyard.”
Matete explained the first-half substitution of his experienced defender, Thabo Masualle, was because the versatile Bantu centre-back was “not himself” on the day.
“He is one of the most experienced defenders in the team and hardly puts a foot wrong in any match, but you could tell that against Kenya, it was not his day and we had to make the change,” Matete said.
The change, which saw Premier League player-of-the-year, Mabuti Potloane coming in for Masualle while utility player, Tšoanelo Koetle, was switched to right back, improved the way the team was dealing with the marauding visitors.
Meanwhile, Matete was also full of praise for goalkeeper, Mohau Kuenane, who made a good save in the dying minutes of the match to keep Likuena in the game.

Players’ rating out of 10:
Mohau Kuenane (6): The Likuena goalkeeper seemed to be losing concentration at times and his mistakes could have proved costly to the nation. Luckily for him, his defence twice cleared the ball from crossing the goal-line.
Jeremiah Kamele and Nkau Lerotholi cleared the ball on the line in the first and second half, respectively. However, Kuenane also had a great save towards the end of the match, to keep the team’s slender lead intact.

Thabo Masualle (4): The Likuena right back was having a bad day at the office and it did not come as a surprise when he was substituted towards the end of the first half.
Masualle rarely puts his foot wrong for Likuena, but against Kenya, everything fell apart for him and was replaced by Mabuti Potloane.

Nkau Lerotholi (8): The hard tackling Matlama centre-back gave another splendid display as he made important blocks, including clearing the ball which was about to cross the line, thereby helping the team keep a clean sheet.
His strong partnership with Moitheri Ntobo is the reason Likuena hardly concedes goals especially playing at home.

Moitheri Ntobo (8): The Likuena skipper led by example, as usual and his partnership with Lerotholi continues to grow from strength to strength. Ntobo’s organisation of his defence and the team as a whole, was excellent on the day and the LCS defender showed why Matete asked him to come out of international retirement last year.

Motlalepula Mofolo (6): The Lioli midfield general took time to get into the match as Likuena struggled to keep possession in the first half, losing the ball very cheaply. However, he still did well to keep Kenya’s star-player, Victor Wanyama, at bay. After his first-half struggles, Mofolo came back a better play after the halftime break, to ensure Likuena emerged victorious from this blood-and-thunder tie.

Tšoanelo Koetle (7): The utility Lioli man who started the match in midfield also had a slow start to the match and only improved after he was switched to the right-back position. Koetle is a dead-ball specialist, but his shots were very poor against the Harambee Stars on Sunday.

Bushy Moletsane (7): The veteran Lioli midfielder seemed to be struggling in the first half as he was used in an unusual, right-wing position and only regrouped after the changes that saw him back in his usual position behind the strikers. His brilliant ball played into the box found Tšepo Seturumane, who out-jumped his marker for the very important goal which helped Likuena secure a very important win.

Jane Tšotleho (7): The America-based playmaker worked hard in the middle of the park, but was tightly marked by the experienced Wanyama of English Premier League side, Southampton.
Tšotleho had a fair match as he also contributed in the build-up leading to the goal.

Thapelo Tale (7): Tale did a lot of running as always, but the link up between him and the midfielders was not good on the day. This is the area that the Likuena coach will have to put more effort to improve combinational play between his attacking players going forward.

Substitute: Only Mabuti Potloane had enough time coming from the bench to make an impact. The Linare captain brought a lot of flair and as usual, was heavily involved when the team was attacking and defending. Being a ball-player, his introduction helped to settle the nerves of his teammates as well as bring them into the game.


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