Notši promises more upsets

Notši promises more upsets

MASERU – Lesotho interim coach Leslie Notši said Likuena’s job is not done after his side’s thrilling 3-2 win over South Africa on Sunday at Setsoto Stadium in the first leg of the neighbours’ 2020 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying tie.
Likuena ran out winners thanks to goals from Tšepo Seturumane, Hlompho Kalake and a last minute Lehlohonolo Fothoane strike and they will head into Sunday’s second leg at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto with a slight advantage.
Notši said pressure now shifts to South Africa to make sure they come back and win the return game in their backyard.
The Likuena mentor said he is happy with how his charges performed at Setsoto and they now have to absorb pressure in the second leg.
Lesotho started Sunday’s opening leg on the front foot and their intentions were made crystal clear from the third minute when Jane Thaba-Ntšo’s fine strike was miraculously kept out by goalkeeper Mondli Mpondo.

It did not take long, however, for Likuena to break the deadlock as the recalled Tšepo Seturumane sent the crowd wild with a cool finish just moments after Thaba-Ntšo’s effort was saved.
South Africa found their feet from there and enjoyed plenty of the ball.
Likuena managed the visitors’ threat well until the final seconds of the first half when Motlomelo Mkhwanazi gave away a penalty which Kamohelo Mahlatsi converted to make it 1-1 going into halftime.
The second half started much the same way the first ended with South Africa enjoying far greater possession and Lesotho looking to pick their moments to attack.
Likuena did just that midway through the second half when one such forward raid resulted in a penalty which Kalake slotted away to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
However, when South Africa equalised in the 85th minute it seemed the game was headed for a draw until Fothoane’s precious strike on the stroke of fulltime handed the victory to Lesotho and sent a packed Setsoto into ecstasy.

It was a historic moment for the Likuena who finally clinched their first win over Bafana in nine attempts and after 24 years of trying.
“We knew South Africa is a strong team that runs a lot,” a delighted Notši said afterwards.
“They attack on the wings and we saw it, but overall, we are satisfied as the coaches, we were able to manage them and score goals. Going forward into the second leg, we are expecting an even more difficult game because the pressure is on them to win in their own backyard. We are not saying that we are going there to defend only, we will have to do both: absorb pressure and attack. That is our plan,” he added
Notši, who is the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) technical director, had a few weeks to work with Likuena after he was roped in earlier this month to replace an ill Moses Maliehe as interim coach.
He admitted he felt the pressure of the nation heading into the tie.
“We are satisfied as the coaches of Likuena, this game had a lot of pressure on me as a person because I am now the coach and the expectations from Basotho were to see how the (technical director) is going to do, especially when there were a lot of new faces into the team,” Notši explained.

In the end, almost everything went according to plan to seal a 3-2 win, the first time Likuena have scored more than two goals in a game since a 4-3 defeat to Zimbabwe in 2017.
Other than that, the only time Lesotho scored thrice in a match in the past five years was a 3-0 win over Mauritius in 2016.
“Looking the plan we had, we are satisfied,” Notši said.
“Yes, it is true that there are still areas that need to be improved but what is important that I want to share with you is that we were prepared to attack a lot. Attack because we are playing at home and we wanted our team to score goals and it’s been a long time since Likuena scored three goals in a game. We were looking to get a goal at least in the first 15 minutes to make us settle and to also unsettle them.”
Notši praised the new faces in the Likuena team for their role in Sunday’s historic win.
“We encouraged confidence and self-belief a lot to our players and you also saw there was no player that you could look at and think he is new into the team,” Notši said.
“The likes of (Lisema) Lebokollane and Rethabile Rasethuntša, I praise them, they did well in front of this crowd that came to watch.”

Tlalane Phahla

 

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