Last throw of the dice for Likuena

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

Likuena play Burk­ina Faso and Gabon in their last two 2015 africa Cup of na­tions (af­con) qual­i­fiers, start­ing with a home match against the Stal­lions at Set­soto Sta­dium this Satur­day.

The West Africans won the first leg match 2-0in Oua­gadougou and surely come to Le­sotho as favourites to clinch Satur­day’s tie as they are in sec­ond po­si­tion on the four­na­tion Group C of the con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball qual­i­fiers.

I must say, things have not turned out the way I ex­pected. After the group stage draw was con­ducted, I was con­fi­dent we had a chance of at least qual­i­fy­ing for the Af­con tour­na­ment by clinch­ing sec­ond po­si­tion in the group, which also in­cludes ta­ble-top­ping Gabon and third-placed An­gola.

Likuena started the cam­paign rea­son­ably well de­spite the loss to Burk­ina Faso. How­ever, that dream of see­ing my beloved na­tional foot­ball team play in the Af­con Fi­nals van­ished when we failed to beat An­gola at home — a team I be­lieve is the weak­est team in the group. That match ended goal­less.

How­ever, the Palan­cas Ne­gras would do the job in the re­turn leg as they handed Likuena their big­gest de­feat since the qual­i­fiers be­gan, thrash­ing Seep­hephe Matete’s charges 4-0 in Luanda.

This was a bit­ter pill for all of us to swal­low as we had hoped to see our team play­ing in the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion for the first time.

Likuena had looked very promis­ing, after con­quer­ing Liberia and Kenya to get to the group stage of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The team had looked strong and the play­ers in a good mood to com­plete the chal­lenge and go down in his­tory as the golden gen­er­a­tion that took Le­sotho to their first ever Af­con tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance.

How­ever, once again the dam­age had al­ready been done prior to the trip to Luanda with the play­ers and Le­sotho Foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion (Lefa) locked in a bonus row that had hurt our team’s progress in dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions for so many years.

At the mo­ment, chances are very slim that Likuena will qual­ify for Af­con 2015, but there is still a lot to play for in th­ese fix­tures.

Our pride is still at stake, which is why i hope that our play­ers will rise to the oc­ca­sion and make us proud. Likuena cur­rently have two points from four games, while group-lead­ers Gabon are on eight and as things stand, it looks like the race for the two au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion spots will go down to the wire.

I’m not con­vinced the bonus is­sue has been prop­erly re­solved as the play­ers are still not happy, but we will see how it goes on Satur­day against Burk­ina Faso and away in Li­bre­ville next Wed­nes­day.

i re­ally wanted to see our cap­tain, Moitheri Ntobo, play at Af­con be­fore he calls time on his play­ing ca­reer.

Ntobo has served this coun­try with all he has since he was handed his in­ter­na­tional de­but in 2000.

The no-non­sense de­fender has been a good ser­vant to the beau­ti­ful game and like he has said, he would have wanted to end his ca­reer by play­ing at such an im­por­tant com­pe­ti­tion.

Surely th­ese two Af­con matches will be the last for him as far as the na­tional team is con­cerned and I hope his team­mates will give him the best send-off and per­form well in both matches.

FILE Pic: Likuena for­ward, Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane (cen­tre) is back in the team after miss­ing last month’s match against An­gola over the bonus row.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.