Tough task for Notši

MASERU — Lesotho’s Under-23 national side face a herculean task as they seek to overturn a three-goal deficit when they take on Malawi in a second leg All Africa Games qualifier at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.

National coach Leslie Notši believes there’s still hope and has urged his charges to put on a performance in the crucial tie.

Lesotho were hammered 3-0 in the first leg in Malawi a fortnight ago.

Notši has all the reasons to be optimistic.

Notši’s Under-20 side, which makes up the bulk of the Under-23 team, boasted a solid home record in 2010 and thumped Mozambique 6-1 in a Caf African Youth Championship qualifier last April.

However, Sunday’s mission is made tougher because the side is facing an in-form Malawian Under-23 team brimming with confidence.

But on Tuesday Notši was upbeat.

“It’s still possible for us to win,” Notši told the Lesotho Times.

“We need to give back to the fans who have supported this team. Our plan is to see that we win the match. Our team did not play well in the first leg (but) we have sat down with the players and on Sunday we can win.”

In the first leg loss goalkeeper Daniel Jousse, defender Nkau Lerotholi and striker Thapelo Tale were added to the Makoanyane XI’s normal side to make Lesotho’s Under-23 starting eleven.

Notši said there could be changes to the team on Sunday as Lesotho seeks to overturn the deficit.

“There will be some changes to maybe add some more pace upfront. We have nothing to lose. Our intention is to play an attacking game,” he said.

Notši said there were a few injury concerns with midfielder Mosiuoa Boseka and defender Tumisang Bereng both under supervision.

He however said goalkeeper Kananelo Makhoane had been given the green light to play on Sunday.

“I don’t want to take any risks, we have to look at the bigger picture,” Notši said adding that Malawi were a quality side.

“The Malawi team is a good team. They are not Under-20. They are the reserve team of the national team and in the first leg they outsmarted our team,” he said.

“We were fortunate enough to watch a league match in Malawi (after the first leg). Their game at the premier league level is high and it is no wonder that their national team is so strong,” Notši added.

“But that doesn’t mean we have been beaten. Every session we have been talking to the players to motivate them; they shouldn’t believe that the match is over.”

Lesotho’s Under-23 team played to a one-all draw with their South African counterparts in a friendly tie at Setsoto Stadium on Tuesday and if the side progresses past Malawi their opponents in the next round will be either Angola or South Africa.

Notši also insisted the performances of his charges in the All Africa Games qualifiers were not an indicator of how the Makoanyane XI would fare at the Caf Africa Youth Championship in Libya.

Lesotho has been paired with hosts Libya, Egypt and Mali in the tournament which starts in March.

“We are talking about different age groups, environments and motivation, so many factors are involved. Let’s just take one step at a time,” Notši said.

“For now let’s say we are the Under-23 team and we want to progress as far as possible.”

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