Home Sport Tough battle awaits Makoanyane XI

Tough battle awaits Makoanyane XI

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

NATIONAL under-20 football team coach, Moses Maliehe, insists his charges still have to “sweat” in the return leg of the African Youth Championship qualifier against Angola before they can think of a date with football powerhouse Nigeria.

Makoanyane XI, as the under-20 team is affectionately known, beat the Angolans 3-1 at Setsoto stadium on Sunday, and travel to Luanda in two weeks’ time for the return leg of this penultimate round of the continental tournament.
Lesotho beat Swaziland 4-2 in the first round of the competition, to set a second round tie with Angola.
“We have to give credit to our boys because we faced a lot of challenges leading to the match against Angola, with some of them hit by chickenpox,” Maliehe on Monday told the Lesotho Times.
“The players showed character after Angola had equalised as we managed to add two more goals to win the first leg tie 3-1 at home, which was very important.”

Maliehe said he was aware it would be “a real fight” when they play Palanquinhas, as the Angola under-20 football team is popularly known, in their own backyard.
“Like I had said before, I knew what to expect from the Angolans and the players were also able to do as I told them.
“But it will be a different ball-game altogether in the return leg; we have to be prepared for whatever will be thrown at us in Luanda.
“They will be having home-advantage and it will be important that we also come up with a good plan to approach the match.”

Maliehe also said Makoanyane XI would not be going to Angola to defend their two-goal cushion, but take the game to the hosts.
“We have to be very careful going to the second leg match, but I believe that we do not have to sit back and defend.
“The trick would be to try and get more goals away because they have a problem with defending,” Maliehe said.

A win against Angola would see Lesotho meeting Nigeria in the last of the qualifiers, but Maliehe said he is taking it one game at a time.
“At this stage, the focus is on finishing the job against Angola, and only then can we start thinking about Nigeria,” Maliehe said.

However, Maliehe said he was confident his players can beat any team on their day.
“We have a group of talented young boys who continue to grow with each match and we will keep fighting to qualify for next year’s tournament in Senegal,” Maliehe said.

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