Likuena hits top form

Likuena hits top form

Maseru – Lesotho captain Bokang Mothoana says the national side is mentally strong at the moment and that confidence is high amongst players.
Mothoana says Likuena can now handle the pressure of playing outside the country and this has created positive vibes in the squad ahead of next month’s crucial 2018 African Nations Cup (CHAN) qualifier against The Comoros.

Lesotho arrived in the country in high spirits on Tuesday after claiming a solid 1-1 draw away against Tanzania last Saturday in the side’s opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, a game in which Likuena came back from behind to claim a precious point.
The draw sees Lesotho occupy second spot in Group L with Uganda leading the way with three points. Tanzania is third and Cape Verde is in fourth place.

Mothoana said a point away from home is a good start for Likuena in their campaign to reach Cameroon 2019.
“We didn’t want to draw the match, we wanted to win but, if you look at our past results away from home, I think this 1-1 draw is a good start for us,” the skipper said.

“We are now confident, we are mentally strong and we can now handle the pressure well,” Mothoana added of last Saturday’s clash where Mbwana Samatta gave Tanzania a 29th minute lead from a free-kick.

Likuena, however, fought back admirably and Thapelo Tale found the equaliser in the 35th minute.
Mothoana, however, said Likuena have to improve their finishing going forward.

“I am happy with the team’s performance (but) we created a lot of chances and did not take them,” he said.
“Even the (friendly) games we played before against Swaziland and Mauritania, we still created chances but we failed to utilise them. Now we have to work on that and correct our mistakes,” Mothoana added.
The 2018 CHAN tournament will be held in Kenya.

It is only for players who ply their trade in their local leagues and it represents Lesotho’s best chance to qualify for its first major international tournament.

Lesotho will travel to Comoros for the first leg on July 14 before the return leg in Maseru on July 21.
Should Likuena navigate their way past Comoros they would face either Namibia or Zimbabwe in the final CHAN qualifying round in August.

Before then, however, Lesotho has the very pressing matter of the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup in South Africa. Likuena have been drawn to face Namibia in the quarterfinals on July 1.

Luciah Phahla

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