MASERU — Lesotho’s under-20 coach Leslie Notši has called on his charges to “rewrite history” when they clash with South Africa in the second leg of their Caf Under-20 Championship qualifier at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
Makoanyane XI go into the game with a healthy 2-0 lead after stunning their more illustrious opponents, Amajita, in Gauteng two weeks ago.
Such is the lack of success in local football it can be argued Sunday’s encounter is the most important match on Lesotho soil since Likuena’s Cosafa Cup final meeting with Zimbabwe in 2000.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Notši said he was expecting a different Amajita side, but maintained the Makoanyane XI were determined to win again.
Since the first leg Amajita coach Khabo Zondo has pleaded with Premier Soccer League clubs in South Africa to release players.
That could mean that Amajita will be a different opponent in the second leg.
“We are expecting a different team, even when you read the newspapers you can see there may be changes. To us it is a challenge — two million Basotho (to come up) against 48 million South Africans,” Notši said.
“We would like to rewrite history. We are always being called minors and this is an opportunity to prove ourselves.”
Notši said South Africa were now underdogs.
“I think our performance in the first leg turned the tables.”
Notši said preparations were going well with the players warming up for the game with two practice matches against Lioli on Sunday and Matlama on Tuesday.
The only negative news in the build-up for the Makoanyane XI are the doubts hanging over the availability of two key players, goalkeeper Kananelo Makhooane and goal-scoring winger Tsebang Lebata due to injuries.
“They are under observation right now. We can only say something about them on Thursday (today),” Notši said.
Regarding Lesotho’s approach to the game, Notši said although his side were likely to continue their successful counter-attacking ways they would also be cautious.
“We want to keep our 100 percent winning record,” he said.
Notši said the spirit in the camp was high ahead of the game.
“We are just waiting for Sunday,” Notši said.
“We know that they (South Africa) are a good team. They have the facilities and they play in a professional league. But this is 11 against 11 and everyone must stand up to be counted.”
If Makoanyane XI progress they will face one last hurdle, either Kenya or Sudan, before the Caf Under-20 Championships in Libya next March.
Probable team: (4-2-3-1) Kananelo Makhooane, Salebone Lekhooa, Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepa (captain), Thabiso Mohapi, Tšoanelo Koetle, Jeremea Kamela, Lehlomela Ramabele, Litšepe Marabe