Matete wel­comes draw

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati Moorosi Tsiane

NA­TIONAL team in­terim coach, Seep­hephe Matete, is con­fi­dent Likuena will be ready for the african Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (CHAN) qual­i­fier against Botswana whose first leg is set for the week­end of 1921 June 2015.

Le­sotho were drawn against the Ze­bras of Botswana on Sun­day and Matete told the Le­sotho Times this week his play­ers would be ready for their re­gional coun­ter­parts.

Likuena have twice lost to Botswana in friendly matches since Matete took over the coach­ing reins last year, but the vet­eran coach be­lieves the out­come would be dif­fer­ent when the two foes meet in a com­pet­i­tive match. The CHAN only fea­tures lo­cally-based play­ers and its fi­nals would be held in Rwanda next year. Since its in­tro­duc­tion four years ago, Le­sotho has never taken part in the tour­na­ment.

“It true that they have been su­pe­rior in the friendly matches we have played dur­ing my time, and even be­fore I came in, which means we will have to up our game if we are to beat them,” Matete said.

“The good thing is that we know what Botswana can of­fer, which makes it eas­ier for us in our prepa­ra­tions.

“On the other hand, they also know how we play and al­ways tell us that we play good pass­ing foot­ball, which is why they get phys­i­cal when they play us.

“So know­ing that this is how they think, we should plan ac­cord­ingly and have a good game-plan. If we get it right, which I am con­fi­dent we will, we are go­ing to ad­vance to the next stage of the tour­na­ment at their ex­pense.”

Matete also said it would be easy for him to pre­pare the team for the tour­na­ment be­cause of its sched­ule.

“We will be off-sea­son, so all the play­ers would be avail­able for train­ing,” he said.

Mean­while, Matete also said star mid­fielder, Tšoanelo Koe­tle and vet­eran play­maker, Bushy Mo­let­sane , were back in the na­tional team af­ter fi­nally agree­ing to sign an agree­ment that reg­u­lates their con­duct while with Likuena.

The duo, along­side goal­keeper, Mohau Kue­nane, were left out of the team that trav­elled to Botswana for a friendly match al­most a fort-

night ago, which lost 2-0.

GROUPS West A: Guinea Mali; Mau­ri­ta­nia ra Leone; Guinea Sene­gal v Gam­bia. West B: Ghana v Côte d’ivoire; Nige­ria v Burk­ina Faso; Tiger v Togo. Cen­tral Zone: DRC v Cen­tral africa Repub­lic; Camer­oun v Congo Chad v Gabon. East-cen­tral: Tan­za­nia v Uganda; Dji­bouti v Bu­rundi; Ethiopia v Kenya. South­ern: Zim­babwe v Co­moros; Le­sotho v Botswana; Namibia v Zam­bia; Mozam­bique v Sey­chelles; SA v Mau­ri­tius; Swazi­land v An­gola.

Bis­sau v v Sierv Liberia Team Le­sotho is hop­ing to fly the coun­try’s flag high at the African Cy­cling Cham­pi­onship to be held in Rwanda from 5-10 May.

ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho Cy­cling as­so­ci­a­tion (LCA) public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Lethu­sang Ntili, the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion would be highly com­pet­i­tive, but he still be­lieved in the cy­clists’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties to bring home some sil­ver­ware.

“We have a very good squad we se­lected af­ter two com­pe­ti­tions we held last month,” Ntili said. “The team is made up of Ma­pa­nya ‘Meke and Katleho Manasi, who will be com­pet­ing in the ju­nior cat­e­gory, while Tumelo Makae and Male­fet­sane Le­sofe will be con­test­ing the un­der-23 di­vi­sion.

“Phetetso Monese and Teboho Khan­tši will com­pete in the elite cat­e­gory, while Likeleli Ma­sitise and an­other fe­male rider yet to be se­lected, would also be at the cham­pi­onship.”

The vet­eran rider fur­ther said the team would cap­i­tal­ize on its “strength”.

“We stand a very good chance of win­ning in Rwanda, es­pe­cially in the re­lay as that is where our strength lies. We know other coun­tries fo­cus more on cross-coun­try, so we have been told that most points will be scored in the re­lay, which is good news for us,” said Ntili.

“Our cy­clists made very good times in last week­end’s races; they did far much bet­ter than they did last year, which is very promis­ing as we head to Rwanda.”

Ntili fur­ther said the only worry for the as­so­ci­a­tion was lack of fe­male rid­ers.

“We still have fe­male cy­clists but their main prob­lem is that they don’t like to com­pete in th­ese races, which they com­plain are too long, hence the few num­bers that we have. As for the other rid­ers in our team, they have been in­volved in dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions so they know what to ex­pect when they go to Rwanda. And again yes­ter­day, Monese, Tumelo, Khantsi, Le­sofe and Likeleli were tak­ing part in a tour­na­ment in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, South Africa, which is good prepa­ra­tions for them,” he said.

Mot­lokoa Nkhabut­lane tri­umphantly crosses the 2015 Two Oceans Marathon fin­ish­ing line.

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