Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia

For­mer na­tional team striker mot­latsi Shale be­lieves Le­sotho would find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to beat Botswana in the sec­ond leg of the 2016 African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (CHAN) pre­lim­i­nary round qual­i­fier and ad­vance to the next round of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Likuena were held to a goal­less draw by the Ze­bras at Set­soto Sta­dium on Sun­day, and play their re­turn leg of the South­ern Zone on 5 July in Gaborone.

Shale, who led Bantu to their first premier league ti­tle in 87 years dur­ing the 2013/14 sea­son, told the Le­sotho Times that he did not see Le­sotho im­prov­ing in the re­verse leg and ex­pects an even worse per­for­mance from Seep­hephe Matete’s charges.

“I don’t see the team im­prov­ing in Gaborone; I ex­pect worse than this in the re­turn leg. To me, it looks like the coaches have thrown in the towel al­ready,” Shale said.

“I’m re­ally shocked na­tional team coaches keep point­ing fin­gers at clubs for Likuena’s strug­gles in front of goal, when they are sup­posed to be ad­dress­ing that prob­lem at that level through the right com­bi­na­tion of play­ers and tac­tics.”

Shale, who re­cently parted ways with Bantu due to a con­trac­tual dis­pute, in­sisted matete and his as­sis­tants should shoul­der the blame for Likuena’s poor per­for­mance and no­body else.

“I think it’s very ir­re­spon­si­ble to keep blam­ing coaches at club level for the na­tional team’s goal-scor­ing prob­lem when the coaches play a sys­tem that only has one striker. To make mat­ters worse, the coaches have a few strik­ers in their team, yet have the chance to se­lect as many for­wards as they want. It is ob­vi­ous the sys­tem they have been us­ing is fail­ing them and should have changed it a long time ago.

“Against Botswana, Nkoto Ma­soabi strug­gled for the whole game play­ing as a lone striker yet the coaches had Thabiso Brown on the bench. If the two of them had played to­gether, they could have done much bet­ter. I also fail to un­der­stand why the coun­try’s lead­ing goal-scorer, Litšepe Marabe, started the match on the bench when the team was des­per­ate to win at home,” he said.

“Dur­ing my days play­ing for Likuena, we would have five top strik­ers in the squad — my­self, Teele Ntšonyana, Le­ba­joa Mphon­goa, Ma­jara Ma­supha and Kabelo Mosothoana — and the coaches al­ways played two strik­ers in ev­ery match. But we all knew I could not be play with Ntšonyana as our style of play was a bit sim­i­lar and would al­ways be paired with a speedy striker so that we could com­ple­ment each other. That is what I also feel we need at the mo­ment,” Shale said.

Ac­cord­ing to Shale, Likuena are not show­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion needed for any team to win against a mo­ti­vated op­po­nent.

“On Sun­day, I saw a team that lacked hunger to win. The tac­tics were poor and even the body lan­guage of the play­ers said it all — that some­thing was lack­ing in camp. What the coach should do now is re­duce the num­ber of play­ers in mid­field and put more strik­ers be­cause we need to score in or­der to progress not only against Botswana but also the on-go­ing 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers.”

The for­mer Bloem­fontein Celtic striker added even midfielder Hlom­pho Kalake was played out of po­si­tion, as a winger, which he said was doomed to fail the team.

“We might not know ev­ery­thing that is hap­pen­ing in the Likuena camp, but if there are any prob­lems, then the coach should come out and spell them out for the na­tion to know.

“That is be­cause if he con­tin­ues to re­main silent, it is his that is go­ing to be on the block,” Shale said.

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