Matete hails Likuena


National football team stuns Liberia to book a place in the second round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

Mikia Kalati

Interim Likuena coach, Seephephe Matete, has saluted his charges following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Liberia, which eliminated the West Africans from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The national football team, popularly known as Likuena, trailed Liberia 1-0 from the first leg fixture played in Monrovia a fortnight ago, and needed to win the weekend match at Setsoto stadium by two unanswered goals to advance to the next phase of the biennial competition, whose finals would be held in Morocco.

Solid defensive work from inspirational captain Moitheri Ntobo, Nkau Lerotholi, Thabo Masualle and Tšoanelo Koetle, ensured Lesotho kept the much-needed clean sheet for a famous win against one of Africa’s football powers.

Lesotho’s first goal came in the second minute when midfielder Mabuti Potloane punished the lethargic Lone Stars, with the second following three minutes later through Oliseh Sekou, who beat his own keeper following a Tšoanelo Koetle corner-kick.

After the final whistle, Matete praised the whole team for a job well done, as well as the fans who came in numbers to egg the players on.
“I’m overcome with emotion; I’m very excited with this win. Credit goes to the players who gave their all, as well as the fans who came to support the team,” Matete said.

Another player who gave a good account of himself in Sunday’s match was America-based offensive midfielder, Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho.
The left-footed player was given a free role behind Free State Stars-bound striker, Thapelo Tale, who also worked hard the entire 90 minutes of the match.
Tšotleho, who donned the Likuena colours for the first time on Sunday, was outstanding until he was substituted in the 65th minute.
“All I can say is we are happy. It was a team-effort and everyone came to the party to make this country proud,” said Matete.
Ntobo, who hardly put a foot wrong on the day, praised the coach for his game-plan, as well as his teammates, who never stopped believing in themselves despite the Monrovia loss.
“The coach had a plan after losing the first leg match in Monrovia, which we followed to the letter. We went back to the drawing board and rectified our mistakes from the first-leg tie and it worked out for us.
“I’m very proud of the team and also happy to have given the fans something to smile about,” said the veteran defender.
Ntobo, who has been with the national team for over a decade, also said the team was confident of reaching the group stage of the qualifiers.
“We are playing Kenya in the next stage of the competition, and we will take the fighting spirit we showed in the return leg against Liberia, into the Kenya clash.”

Meanwhile, whoever wins that clash joins Burkina Faso, Angola, and Gabon in Group C of the final phase of the qualifiers, and Ntobo is hoping that team would be Likuena.
“We have got to keep on believing in ourselves, and take one match at a time,” said the LCS defender.

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