So near yet so far for Likuena

So near yet so far for Likuena

MASERU – Lesotho’s national team Likuena crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 qualifiers on Sunday after failing to beat Cape Verde away from home.
The result was disappointing for every Mosotho who sat in front of a television set.
What made the defeat more painful was the lame way in which Likuena’s players went about their business on Sunday.

It was an embarrassing performance by any measure.
There was also no desire to win and it was as if the team went out to play for a draw. It appeared as if both the players and the technical team never understood how important a victory was for the team.
And with the draw, Likuena’s dream of making it to the Africa Nations Cup finals in Egypt went up in smoke.
But who must shoulder blame for the shambolic loss?
Do we blame the coach for setting out the team to be defensive or do we blame Sam Ketsekile’s annoying time-wasting antics?

Can we even blame Uganda for surrendering meekly to Tanzania away from home?
The truth of the matter is that we shot ourselves in the foot. Lesotho had a golden chance to make history and we simply let it slip.
Likuena never even tried to play football in order to win the match. We simply parked the bus and hoped Uganda would do us a favour in Dar es-Salaam.

That is why we never managed a shot on target in the first 45 minutes of the game when we badly needed victory. We did not even create a single half-chance, if anything it was Cape Verde who wanted it more.
All that Likuena needed was a victory by any score-line regardless of what happened in Dar es Salaam.
We are not surprised that even the television commentators were not amused by the time-wasting antics by our national team.

With that draw, Likuena has denied the whole nation a moment to be proud about our football and who we are as Basotho. They have simply let us down.
Where does one start with Ketsekile?
We all know that goalkeepers do waste time; it happens all the time. But they only do so when their team is winning or when they try to take the steam off the opposition. They do not simply waste time when the team is chasing victory.

Ketsekile had no desire to move the ball quickly to secure victory.
Last week, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) revealed how much they spent in preparing for the tie.
LEFA president Advocate Salemane Phafane spoke passionately about Likuena and the need to win. We can only wonder how he felt watching the dreary game.
He also said it has been a long time since Lesotho found themselves in a position where a qualification was possible. We will probably never get another golden opportunity like the one we blew last weekend.
Was it not embarrassing to see the players celebrating after the final whistle thinking a draw was enough to secure qualification?

Why is it that there was no one giving the delegation updates about the other game? Would they have played better and would the coach have made different substitutions if he knew what was happening in Tanzania?
I can only wonder.

Tlalane Phahla


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