Matete bullish ahead of crunch Liberia clash

Moorosi Tsiane

LIKUENA interim coach, Seephephe Matete, is hoping the arrival of United States-based striker, Jane Tšotleho, this week could be the answer to the national team’s goal-scoring woes.
Tšotleho (22) arrived in the country on Monday from his North Carolina base and is set to earn his first senior cap when Likuena host Liberia’s Lone Stars this weekend in a must-win Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) return tie at Setsoto stadium.

Likuena were beaten 1-0 in the first leg of the first-round qualifier in Monrovia a fortnight ago, and need to score in Sunday’s reverse tie if they are to advance to the next round of the continental championship.
After Likuena had found it difficult to score in their recent outings, the Lesotho Football Association decided to call-up Tšotleho, who recently signed a professional contract with American third-tier side, Wilmington Hammerheads FC.

Matete on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times: “The boy joined us today for his first training session with the rest of the team, but I still have to monitor him and see how he fits into the team.
“Hopefully, he will be the answer to our goal-scoring problem, as he will add more competition in the striking department. We have to win this match by at least scoring two goals without conceding any, which is why his arrival is most welcome.
“We have been working hard on our finishing and attacking because we are going to play with more strikers, as our approach will have to be more offensive.”

Matete further said morale in camp was high, adding the players were looking forward to Sunday’s match.
“There is optimism in camp that we will bounce back and come out victorious against the Lone Stars. The players believe the 1-0 first-leg loss can be overcome. But as I mentioned before, this can only be possible through scoring goals, which is something Likuena have not been able to do in the past, hence our previous failure to qualify for the Afcon tournament.”

According to Matete, the availability of two key players who missed the first leg tie had also boosted the team’s prospects.
Defender Thabo Masualle did not make the trip after being axed for indiscipline, while first-choice goalkeeper, Mohau Kuenane was hospitalised two days after arriving in Monrovia due to
malaria, and subsequently missed the tie.
“Masualle and Kuenane are back in the team and I think their experience will be very vital coming into this match and they will make this team more stable,” said Matete.
“I’m positive we will win the match and do the nation proud.”

Meanwhile, Tšotleho, who left for the US nine years ago when he was 13 years of age, has since spoken of his excitement at joining Likuena.
“I have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time and I’m surprised it did not happen a bit earlier,” Tšotleho said.
“I know it won’t be easy because I have been away for a very long time and will have to get used to my teammates. But I’m positive of good results against Liberia; we can do it and beat Liberia at home because the whole nation will be behind us.”

 

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