We thought a draw was enough: Moremoholo
LIKUENA captain Mafa Moremoholo says his side were playing for a draw in their last clash with Cape Verde on Sunday in their last 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier because they “thought a draw was enough to qualify”.
They eventually got the draw but failed to progress after Tanzania thumped Uganda 3-0 to proceed as the second placed team in Group L. Had Tanzania lost or drawn with Uganda, Lesotho would have proceeded with a draw.
However, Likuena drew nil-all and ended the qualifiers on third position.
During the Sunday match, the Likuena goalkeeper, Sam Ketsekile, appeared to be wasting time while coach Moses Maliehe also introduced defender Kopano Tseka for attacking midfielder Tshwarelo Bereng, when the team needed a goal that would have sent them to their first continental showpiece.
Lesotho went into the Sunday match with Cape Verde in second position behind already qualified Uganda and would have qualified with a win over the Blue Sharks.
Moremoholo also said that it was heart-breaking that they got so close but failed at the last huddle.
“It was not a good feeling because of the support and how the country rallied behind us in the build up to the game,” Moremoholo said.
“That is the one thing that keeps coming back into my mind. Basotho had hope and the team also had hope that we would qualify. But it has happened and there is nothing we can do to change the situation as painful as it.”
The Likuena skipper admitted that they only got to know about the other result after their match had ended and the belief within the squad was that they had qualified for the tournament in Egypt.
“Indeed, we only got the information that Tanzania had beaten Uganda when we got to the changing rooms. We wanted to get a goal but at the same time we did not want to concede and thought a draw would be enough for us to qualify. However, it was not enough.
“Yes, we had chances to push for that winning goal that would have helped us qualify but it was not easy playing away from home and we also had to be cautions not to concede because it would have made life very difficult for us.
“The home team was also pushing for a win, so it was difficult to go all out and open a gap at the back although we tried to attack and get goals,” he said.
Speaking about the qualifying campaign that started in 2017 with a 1-1 draw away to Tanzania, Moremoholo, who is the only player to have played in all the six games, feels that Likuena has improved immensely.
“I think there is a huge improvement in the team. The majority of the players in our squad are playing their league football here at home while most of the teams we played against have oversees based players.
“However, despite all that, we have matched them in the field of play and have beaten some of them. It shows that there is a significant growth in local football.
“We have shown a lot of commitment and desire to learn and I think in future, it would also benefit us to have players playing abroad.
“Even our opponents could not believe that most of our player play in the domestic league. So, I believe that we can get even better with international exposure.
“The fact that most of our players are based at home has not stopped us from giving our opponents a run for their money on the field of play. From my side, I think there is a lot of growth, although it does not stop us for continuing to learn and improve.
“On behalf of the team, I also thank Basotho for their unceasing support and we are disappointed that we failed to make them happy by qualifying for AFCON,” Moremoholo said.