Likuena crash out of Cosafa

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Mikia Kalati

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.

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