Likuena crash out of Cosafa
RUSTENBURG — National team defender, Nkau Lerotholi, is happy with his new responsibility after being named captain following the retirement of long-time skipper, Moitheri Ntobo.
The Matlama defender was handed the leadership role before Likuena left Maseru for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) tournament currently underway in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Likhopo playmaker, Bokang ‘Lefty’ Mothoana, was named Lerotholi’s deputy as interim coach Seephephe ‘ Mochini’ Matete embarks on what he has called a rebuilding exercise.
Lerotholi on Monday told the Lesotho Times in Rustenburg that it was an honour to captain his country, and would do his best to repay the trust the technical department had shown in him through the appointment.
“I’m very honoured to have been given this honour to captain my country,” Lerotholi said.
“The armband comes with a big responsibility although it was a bit disappointing that my captaincy started on a bad note as we lost to Madagascar today in our opening match of the Cosafa tournament.”
The tough-tackling defender said he learned a lot from Ntobo, who was also his central defence partner for a very long time.
“I learned from a player I consider one of the finest to have won national team colours. I partnered him for a very long time and will use that experience to be the inspiration that he was,” said Lerotholi.
Lerotholi, who was Matlama captain before his ill-fated move to South African First Division side Garankuwa United last year, said he would have been happier had his tenure started with a win.
Thapelo Tale gave Lesotho the lead before Madagascar levelled matters through Sarivahy Vombola and substitute Lantonirina Rabehasinmbola grabbed the winner with five minutes of play remaining. Lesotho were playing Swaziland last night, and wind-up their Group B campaign against Tanzania tomorrow. Only the group-winner advances to the next stage of the tournament.
“Of-course, it is always disappointing to lose, no-matter the opponent. We started very well and scored first, but we allowed them to get back into the game, hence those two goals which resulted in our defeat.
“We will have to improve in the remaining two matches because we cannot afford to let our country down like this.”
The no-nonsense defender further said he had expected Likuena to emulate the team which reached the semi-final stage of the 2013 edition of the Cosafa tournament.
“When we came here, the plan was to get to the semi-finals at least, because we know what it is like playing in this competition. However, I feel we squandered a lot of chances against Madagascar which came back to haunt us,” said Lerotholi.
“This is all part of the game, although it’s unacceptable to lose to minnows like Madagascar. We should do better than this and be challenging countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia for the title.”
Likuena defender Nkau Lerotholi dribbles past a Swaziland player in this file picture.