Tough road  for Likuena

Tough road for Likuena

MASERU-Lesotho’s path to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon next year has become very difficult after Likuena failed to pick up a victory in their four qualifying games so far.

In their past two qualifiers Likuena had a pair of games against Benin away and at home and managed to only pick up one point.
Likuena is in Group L alongside Benin, Sierra Leone and Nigeria and they are rooted at the bottom of the group with two points.
Nigeria leads the standings with eight points followed by Benin with seven and the top two nations will qualify for the finals.

Likuena’s head coach Thabo Senong said he is disappointed with the results but is happy with the performance of the players, both at home and in Benin. Senong said he was impressed with some of the players who won their first caps and impressed on both occasions.

Senong also outlined the challenges the players had as the team had no competitive friendly matches to prepare and had to settle for friendly games with Bantu and South African outfit Free State Stars.
“We had three challenges as the national team, if you look at the past seven months our league was still suspended, players were not active for a long period but we really worked hard to make sure that we bring their fitness level close to hundred percent,” Senong said.

“You look at other elements of our preparation such as friendly games, I don’t think we got the number of friendly games we could have got, but that is not an excuse. We are trying to move forward now and make sure in the upcoming games we get the needed friendly,” he added.
Despite the disappointment against Benin, Likuena were not outplayed in both games but also did nothing to deserve to win.

Likuena were perhaps better on Tuesday as they came very close to taking a lead through Tšepo Seturumane; the goalkeeper was well beaten but his header was an inch away from the goal.
Benin, on the other hand, would be happy with the draw and did not come close to troubling Sekhoane Sekhoane in goals; all he had to do all game was routine saves.

“I am very impressed with how the players expressed themselves tactically, physically and mentally, we were strong for 90 minutes away, we were strong for 90 minutes at home (and) we created good chances but a final pass in the final third is still a challenge,” Senong said.

The decision making in the final third was still a challenge, the group is still open if you look at the recent results, Nigeria against Sierra Leone 0-0, you could say the group is still open and we just need to focus on the next matches in March, Sierra Leone at home (and) Nigeria away, those are tough matches. Any team is beatable, anything is possible,” Senong said.

Tlalane Phahla

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