Maliehe vows to go on the attack

Maliehe vows to go on the attack

MASERU – Moses Maliehe says Lesotho will attack Comoros from the first whistle when the sides meet on Saturday in a vital 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier.
The teams clash at the Stade de Moroni in the Comoros capital city – the first game of a journey both teams hope will culminate in a place at the January finals in Kenya.
Promisingly for Likuena fans, the side goes into Saturday’s match in high spirits after the COSAFA Castle Cup held last week in South Africa where Lesotho reached the semi-finals and finished fourth.

Likuena were also awarded the fair-play award for the second tournament in a row. Maliehe said his charges will use the confidence gained at the regional showpiece to take Saturday’s game to their hosts. “We don’t want to give Comoros any opportunity to play,” the Likuena mentor said. “We have been working on that and we want to play a lot of attacking football.”
“When you go play away, sometimes you find yourself in competition, competing with the opponents in terms of play; we don’t want to compete with Comoros, we want to put them in a corner,” he said.

Likuena’s attacking approach may be crucial in the quest to nab an important away goal. The last time the nations met away goals turned out to be decisive.
In a preliminary 2018 World Cup qualifier in 2015, Lesotho played to a goalless draw in Comoros in the first leg.
When the sides played to a 1-1 draw in the return match, Comoros went through and Likuena were disappointingly knocked out on the away goals rule at the first hurdle.
Maliehe said Lesotho doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes.

“We really don’t know Comoros, they have been here and played 1-1 draw with us and ended up qualifying; we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes,” he said.
Maliehe’s squad for the Comoros game sees two forced changes from the COSAFA Cup. Lesotho Correctional Service defender Motiki Mohale and Swallows midfielder Lehlohonolo Fothoane are new additions to the team replacing Bokang Mothoana and Napo Matsoso. Mothoana has been forced to drop out because of injury while United States based Matsoso is not eligible to play in the CHAN competition which is only for locally based players. Lioli defender Mafa Moremoholo will wear the captain’s armband in the absence of Mothoana.

He said Likuena have learnt from mistakes made at the COASAFA Cup and are determined to be better defensively.  “We trained hard for the past (COSAFA Cup) tournament and we were already preparing for this game (against Comoros),” Moremoholo said. “We already knew that when we come back we will have another big game that we have to play. I don’t think there is fatigue among the players.”

“Like any player, if you have made a mistake you don’t want to repeat the same mistake,” Moremoholo added of the COSAFA Cup where Lesotho agonisingly lost 4-3 to Zimbabwe in the semi-finals.  “We went back to train and saw where we made mistakes and worked on that. It’s only the game against Zimbabwe where we made mistakes, the previous games we did well. We learnt things we had no experience of, and we learnt how to avoid such mistakes again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maliehe touched on his tactics in that 4-3 loss to Zimbabwe. One of the points of contention was Hlompho Kalake’s positioning which saw the playmaker playing on the left wing instead of his natural position in the centre of the pitch. Maliehe said the switch was a part of a strategic plan based on how Zimbabwe plays.

Luciah Phahla

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