LIKUENA IN TOUGH AFCON DRAW
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.