Lioli eye CAPS’ scalp

Lioli eye CAPS’ scalp

Maseru – Lioli coach Halemakale Mahlaha is confident his troops can conquer the odds against CAPS United in Zimbabwe on Sunday.
The CAF Champions League preliminary round tie is in the balance after the sides played to a tense 0-0 first leg stalemate at Setsoto Stadium last Saturday.
Although the result wasn’t what Mahlaha was hoping for, an away goal for ‘Tse Nala’ in Sunday’s return leg would put the cat amongst the pigeons, and possibly, set Lioli on their way to the first round.

As result, Mahlaha said he is targeting an early goal at the National Stadium in Harare. “We will not have pressure at all because we did not concede (in the first leg),” Mahlaha told thepost.  “What we will have to do is to get an early goal just so we can settle and maintain our play from there. We now know how CAPS play.”
That knowledge will hopefully help Lesotho’s champions fashion more chances after a first leg in which they failed to create enough openings.
Lioli’s only clear-cut opportunity at Setsoto came just before halftime when pacey Tumelo Khutlang broke away from the last line of CAPS United’s defence but was denied by the goalkeeper.

In the second half it was in fact the visitors who looked more capable of breaking the deadlock although their efforts did not trouble ‘Tse Nala’ keeper Liteboho Mokhehle.
Even so, because Lioli didn’t concede at Setsoto, ‘Tse Nala’ are still well placed to become the first Lesotho club to advance to the first round of the Champions League since Lesotho Defence Force in 2002.

For example, a 1-1 draw would be enough for Lioli to secure a mouth-watering date with Congolese giants TP Mazembe in the next stage because of the away goals rule.
Mahlaha said it would be easier to prepare for the second leg because Lioli have seen how their opponents play and what to expect from them.
He pointed out that a drama-free build-up for the return tie will also help his players after Lioli only finalised camp for the first leg four days before kick-off because of a row with the Lesotho Football Association.

“We now know what to expect from CAPS United, we know what we are preparing for and we know how they play,” Mahlaha said. He added: “Our players were a bit nervous in the first leg. I think it’s because our preparations were hampered. For example, (Obakeng) Modirwa, this was his first international game, he still had challenges mentally to adapt but I am sure we will score and make sure we don’t concede as well.”

With a chance at history beckoning, Mahlaha expressed belief his players will fight to defeat CAPS in the second leg.
“I am confident about every Lioli player,” he said. “Anyone that comes into the team I know and I am sure can do the job for Lioli and the nation.”

Lesotho in the CAF Champions League since 2000:
2016: Vital’O (Burundi) 2-2 Lioli (Vital’O won on away goals)
2015: AS Mangasport (Gabon) 1-0 Bantu
2014: Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 3-2 Lesotho
2013: Dynamos (Zimbabwe) 3-1 Lesotho Correctional Services
2012: URA (Uganda) 3-0 Lesotho Correctional Services
2011: SuperSport United (South Africa) 3-2 Matlama
2010: Did not take part
2009: Did not take part
2008: Platinum Stars (South Africa) 4-1 Lesotho Correctional Services
2007: Likhopo 0-1 Zanaco (Zambia)
2006: Likhopo 0-4 Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
2005: CAPS United (Zimbabwe) 8-4 Lesotho Defence Force
2004: Matlama 0-7 Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
2003: Did not take part
2002: Mogoditshane Fighters (Botswana) 1-2 Lesotho Defence Force
TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 3-1 Lesotho Defence Force
2001: Did not take part
2000: AS Fortior (Madagascar) 0-0 Lesotho Defence Force (LDF won penalties)
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 6-2 Lesotho Defence Force

Luciah Phahla

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