Ntobo sounds bat­tle cry

Likuena cap­tain says Satur­day’s match against Burk­ina Faso re­mains cru­cial for Le­sotho

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Mikia Kalati

In­spi­ra­tional cap­tain, Moitheri ntobo (pic­tured) , says le­sotho go into satur­day’s penul­ti­mate africa Cup of na­tions (af­con) qual­i­fier against Burk­ina Faso de­ter­mined for a win that would re­vive the team’s hopes of mak­ing it to the 16-na­tion foot­ball tour­na­ment next year.

The match, which takes place at Set­soto Sta­dium, is almost a dead-rub­ber for Likuena who are bot­tom of four-na­tion Group C be­hind lead­ers Gabon, sec­ond-placed Burk­ina Faso and third-placed An­gola.

With the group win­ners and run­ners-up au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fy­ing for the bi­en­nial showcase set for 17 Jan­uary to 8 Fe­bru­ary 2015 at a venue yet to be an­nounced, le­sotho — who are on two points fol­low­ing two draws and two losses — would need a mir­a­cle to ad­vance from the pool at the ex­pense of Gabon, Burk­ina Faso and An­gola who are on eight, seven and four points after four matches, re­spec­tively.

Yet ntobo in­sists de­spite their pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion, Likuena would give it their best shot on satur­day as na­tional pride would be at stake.

“our chances of qual­i­fy­ing are now very slim, but as a foot­baller, you al­ways want to win ev­ery match es­pe­cially when you are play­ing for your coun­try, and be­fore you own fans,” ntobo said.

“We are in a very dan­ger­ous po­si­tion and play­ing against a very good team that is also des­per­ate to qual­ify for the af­con tour­na­ment, which makes us even more mo­ti­vated to come out of set­soto with max­i­mum points.

“again, our dream of play­ing in next year’s af­con com­pe­ti­tion is not yet over, as a win against Burk­ina Faso and Gabon will change ev­ery­thing, and see us qual­i­fy­ing if not as win­ners or run­ners-up, then as best third-placed team.”

the le­sotho Cor­rec­tional ser­vice de­fender has also wel­comed changes made by coach seep­hephe Matete fol­low­ing the team’s 4-0 drub­bing by An­gola in their last Af­con qual­i­fier in Luanda on 15 Oc­to­ber, while also lament­ing the ab­sence of de­fen­sive part­ner Nkau Lerotholi. Lerotholi will miss the fi­nal two matches due to sus­pen­sion and ntobo says the cen­tral de­fender would be solely missed.

“His ab­sence will be felt be­cause we are used to play­ing to­gether, but we have a big squad and I be­lieve it is a chance for another player to take his role,” said Ntobo.

“Play­ing against a good Burk­in­abe side is a mas­sive task for us and we have to make sure we play well, and this is where Nkau was sup­posed to come in handy. But like I said, his ab­sence gives a chance for another player to step in, and show what he can do.”

The Likuena skip­per also said the coach’s decision to re­call stars such as mid­fielder Tšoanelo Koe­tle and striker Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane was wel­come con­sid­er­ing the cal­i­bre of their op­po­nents.

Koe­tle was dropped from the team which faced an­gola in luanda be­cause of dis­ci­plinary is­sues, while se­tu­ru­mane did not make the tour fol­low­ing a bonus row with the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Lefa) on the day of de­par­ture.

“they are very ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers and we are happy to have them back in the team,” ntobo said.

Mean­while, Likuena also wel­come striker thapelo tale, who missed the two games against An­gola due to in­jury, while firstchoice goal­keeper, Mo­hau Kue­nane, is also back in the team after serv­ing a two-match sus­pen­sion.

Mean­while, the Stal­lions, as the Burk­ina Faso team is af­fec­tion­ately known, ar­rive in the coun­try to­day with satur­day’s match kick­ing off at 3pm.

Likuena squad

Goal­keep­ers: Mo­hau Kue­nane, Kholuoe Pha­sumane. De­fend­ers: Thapelo Mokhehle, Moitheri Ntobo (cap­tain), Ba­sia Makepe, Shet­sane Ramoseeka, Jeremiah Kamele, Lisema Le­bokol­lane, John Mo­hai, Lekhooa Sale­bone. Mid­field­ers: Tšoanelo Koe­tle, Mabuti Pot­loane, Katleho Moleko, Teboho Mota, Phafa Tšosane, Mo­hau Ram­mo­neng, Bokang Mothoana. Strik­ers: Thapelo Tale, Thabiso Brown, Thabo Seakha, Nkoto Ma­soabi, Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane.

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