Makoanyane XI sharpen swords for South Africa

Makoanyane XI sharpen swords for South Africa

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

One step away from qualifying for next year’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, Lesotho’s Under-20 side returned to training on Monday to start preparations for their next hurdle.

The Makoanyane XI were given a week off following their first round qualifying victory over Mozambique two Sundays ago and they will face South Africa in the second and final round with the winner progressing to next year’s finals in Zambia.

Lesotho is slated to host the first leg on July 10 at Setsoto Stadium with the return leg two weeks later on July 23 or 24.

Speaking to thepost on Tuesday, Makoanyane XI coach Motlalepula Majoro said he is confident of a win.

Lesotho has qualified for the continental championship twice before, in 2005 and in 2011 when Lesotho also eliminated South Africa to make it to the finals.

“We started camping on Monday. Last week the boys were given (a week) off after the Mozambique game, and we have started preparing for the game against South Africa,” Majoro said.

“We have played them before; they won and we won some games against them. They have very intelligent players; however, we are also in a position to win that game. We also have (good) players,” he said.

Next year’s edition is scheduled from February 26 to March 12 with the top four finishers qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Korea Republic in May.

Majoro emphasised the importance of beating South Africa in the first leg at home saying it will not be easy to win away from home.

“We have to win the game at home, (and) use home advantage. Playing well at home will determine how we will play away. It is not easy to play away, so it’s important to win at home,” Majoro said.

The Makoanyane XI will be banking on Sundawana hitman Roboama Koloti, who scored the winner against Mozambique, to continue his fine form. Lesotho drew 1-1 away against Mozambique before winning 1-0 at Setsoto.

Addressing his side’s attacking prospects, Majoro said it is assuring to have three strikers in the squad that have a nose for goal.

“I don’t think we have a goal scoring problem, this is a knockout (tie). (In the last round) we drew 1-1 (away), and won 1-0 and knocked Mozambique out (at home), we already had the advantage with an away goal. It’s good to have three strikers in the team and know that one of them could get a goal in a match,” he said.

Reflecting on the victory over Mozambique, Majoro said although his charges won, there is still plenty of room for improvement ahead of the decisive tie against South Africa.

“I cannot say I am entirely happy, there are still a few things that we need to work on and correct even though we won (against Mozambique). There are still things we are short of, we are preparing,” he said.

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