Maliehe bemoans  missed chances

Maliehe bemoans missed chances

Maseru – Lesotho coach Moses Maliehe has blamed missed chances for Likuena’s disappointing 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) exit to Comoros. Likuena suffered an embarrassing 2-1 aggregate defeat to the minnow nation in the first round of qualifying on Sunday to continue the country’s wait to qualify for a major tournament.

Lesotho’s fate was sealed at Setsoto Stadium with a frustrating 1-0 win that was not enough to overturn a 2-0 defeat from the first leg two weeks ago.
And, after becoming the latest coach to fail to guide Lesotho to an international competition, Maliehe pointed to his side’s toothless attack.
“What happened is that we did reach their final area but we didn’t score goals,” the Likuena boss complained.

“I think we reached their eighteen area more than 11 times but we failed to score the goals that we needed. We knew we were behind by two goals we couldn’t sit back and not attack.” Maliehe complained that Comoros came to Maseru to defend.
“We know how they play,” he said. “Comoros were a better team today compared to last week, (but) they didn’t play at all. They all sat behind the ball just like today; after we scored against them they didn’t play.”

This is the second time Likuena’s hearts have been broken by Comoros.
The same fate befell Lesotho in 2015 in the preliminary qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup when Comoros won on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate draw.
Likuena sounded confident of a different outcome this time around but their hopes were dented by an abysmal 2-0 loss in the first leg in Moroni two weeks ago.
Maliehe’s charges complained about ill treatment in Comoros and promised to exact revenge at Setsoto. However, their plans were immediately upset by an injury plague that struck the striking force ahead of the second leg.

Strikers Thapelo Tale and Motebang Sera were both withdrawn from the squad and were replaced by Roboama Koloti and 2016/17 premier league top scorer Mojela Letsie.

However, Letsie also left the Likuena camp soon afterwards after it was discovered he was nursing a heel injury.
Lesotho still started Sunday’s second leg well and Koloti, who was one of the best players on the field, gave Likuena the lead in the 11th minute.
The goal gave the thousands of Basotho who turned out for the match hope that their team could turn things around.

Hlompho Kalake could have doubled Likuena’s lead just before the half time whistle but failed to capitalise after Comoros defence was caught off guard. It was a sign of things to come as Lesotho huffed and puffed the rest of the way but couldn’t break Comoros down.

Amongst the main talking points afterwards was Mabuti Potloane playing as an emergency striker and not his natural midfield position.
Maliehe explained his decision by saying there was no time to replace Letsie but he admitted Potloane did not do well as a striker.

“We realised that Letsie had a heel problem and we realised calling a player while we are left with only two days would not work for us, (we said) let’s work with what we have,” Maliehe said.

“We decided to take Mabuti upfront, take Koloti to the right and continue with our play,” he added. “It’s true it had an impact because football is judged by goals not performance. If you don’t score you didn’t play well which is obviously why we failed to proceed to the next level.”

Luciah Phahla

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