Likuena to play for pride

Likuena to play for pride

 

LuciahPhahla

Maseru

Lesotho interim coach Moses Maliehe has urged his charges to end their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign on a high.

Likuena host Ethiopia at the Setsoto Stadium on Sunday in the side’s penultimate Group J qualifier and speaking to thepost yesterday, Maliehe once again stressed the importance of winning the tie.

Maliehe said even though Lesotho is out of the running to reach Gabon 2017, the three points the side can claim against Ethiopia will help when it comes to FIFA and CAF rankings.

Lesotho is currently in 148th position in the world and is ranked 45th by CAF. Sunday’s opponent Ethiopia, on the other hand, is in 123rd position in the FIFA rankings and 38th in Africa.

Likuena are in Group J together with Ethiopia, Seychelles and Algeria. With two games to play, Lesotho is virtually out of the running to qualify for next year’s AFCON.

Likuena are bottom of the group with three points while leaders Algeria have ten. Lesotho’s only chance of qualifying is by beating Ethiopia on Sunday and Algeria away in September in the final qualifier and finishing as one of the two best runners up from the 13 qualifying groups.

However, thanks to Lesotho’s -4 goal difference, that is a long shot.

Nonetheless, Maliehe remained buoyant.

“It’s important, highly important. We need to win games. We need these three points. We need to win for our country, Lesotho. We are looking at FIFA rankings, (and) CAF rankings,” Maliehe said yesterday.

Ethiopia, second in Group J with five points, still has a shot at qualifying for the AFCON and will be buoyed by their 2-1 success over Likuena in the group opener last June.

Maliehe said he anticipates a tactical encounter.

“Ethiopia gives you space (to play) but doesn’t give you a space to think, they are good. They are also older and more experienced than us, they play internationally. But, with energy, with speed, with the hunger we have, we will match them,” he said.

He added: “We know them. We have SeephepheMatete who was senior coach. He played against Ethiopia (last June). He told me how Ethiopia plays and I have also seen Ethiopia play. I know how they play, they give you space, all we have to do is to utilise those spaces. We have the energy and the hunger to do so.”

Lesotho has been boosted by the arrival of United States based Jane Tšotleho. The Richmond Kickers forward arrived in the country yesterday and trained with the team ahead of Sunday’s 15:00 clash.

However, Tšotleho will not be part of Lesotho’s COSAFA Castle Cup campaign because Kickers has not released him for the championship.

On Monday, Maliehe announced his final squad to represent Lesotho at the showpiece in Namibia slated for June 11 to 25.  Maliehe has made one last minute change with Sandawana’sMotlomeloMkhwanazi included in the squad at the expense of Matlama’sNkesiRankhasa.

Likuena will leave for Namibia next week. Their first game is on June 12 against Mauritius.

AFCON Group J standings

    P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Algeria 4 3 1 0 17 5 12 10
2 Ethiopia 4 1 2 1 7 12 -5 5
3 Seychelles 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 4
4 Lesotho 4 1 0 3 4 8 -4 3

 

Lesotho’s COSAFA Cup fixture:

Lesotho vs. Mauritius (12/06/2016)

Angola vs. Lesotho (14/06/2016)

Malawi vs. Lesotho (16/06/2016)

Final COSAFA Cup Squad

Goalkeepers

LitebohoMokhehle (Lioli), Daniel Jousse (LCS)

Defenders

KopanoTseka, Bokang Sello, MafaMoremoholo, BasiaMakepe (all Lioli), MotlomeloMkhwanazi (Sandawana), SepiritiMalefane (Bantu)

Midfielders

MontoeliSonopo, JeremeaKamela (both Lioli), HlomphoKalake (Bantu), KefuoeMahula, Jane Thaba-Ntšo, PhafaTšosane, MabutiPotloane (all Matlama)

Strikers

Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS), TumeloKhutlang (Lioli), Motebang Sera (Matlama)

Head of Delegation

RantsubiseMatete

Head Coach

Moses Maliehe

Assistant Coach

Caswell Moru

Kit Manager

KetsibilePhatšoane

Goalkeeper Coach

ShokhoeMatsoai

 

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