LIKUENA IN TOUGH AF­CON DRAW

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Mikia Kalati

LE­SOTHO were yes­ter­day drawn in a tough 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions (Af­con) qual­i­fy­ing group, which also con­sists of pow­er­houses Al­ge­ria and Ethiopia, as well as fel­low min­nows Sey­chelles.

Likuena, as the na­tional foot­ball team is af­fec­tion­ately known, begin their Group J cam­paign away from home against Ethiopia in June, be­fore host­ing Al­ge­ria at Set­soto Sta­dium three months later.

Al­ge­ria, who are the Num­ber one ranked team on the con­ti­nent, pose the big­gest threat to Le­sotho, while Ethiopia are also ranked 102 in the world, with Likuena on 120.

The Sey­chelles are ranked lower than Le­sotho at 178, but could still pose dan­ger to Likuena, who have con­tin­ued to dis­ap­point in such tour­na­ments.

Likuena coach, Seep­hepe Matete, was bullish when con­tacted last night about the draw, and in­sisted both Al­ge­ria and Ethiopian could be beaten should his charges not al­low them­selves to be in­tim­i­dated by statis­tics.

“It’s a fair group, but we all know that Al­ge­ria are the strong­est in this group although any­thing is pos­si­ble in foot­ball; we can beat them with the right prepa­ra­tions,” Matete said.

“Likuena have shown that they can also be very com­pet­i­tive; we were in a tough group in the 2015 Af­con qual­i­fiers where we were in the same group as Burk­ina Faso, Gabon and An­gola.

“It’s true we did not qual­ify for the Af­con tour­na­ment but we showed that with the right con­di­tions, we can be com­pet­i­tive. I am tak­ing this at­ti­tude into th­ese 2017 Af­con qual­i­fiers, which is why I am say­ing we can do it.”

Matete added: “I think we have grown in all de­part­ments and will be able to com­pete.

“I also be­lieve that the as­so­ci­a­tion will play its part by mak­ing sure the team has enough prepa­ra­tions be­fore the qual­i­fiers get un­der­way.”

LIKUENA play­maker Bushy Mo­let­sane (left) in ac­tion against a Botswana player in this file pic­ture.

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