Bat­tle of the king­doms

…as Lika­tola face Swazi coun­ter­parts

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LE­SOTHO’S na­tional rugby team, Lika­tola, are ready for their Swaziland coun­ter­parts as the two na­tions face-off in a po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive match set for Satur­day in Maseru.

Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho Rugby (FLR) sec­re­tary, Litšitso Motšeremeli, told the Le­sotho Times that “it’s all sys­tems go” for the week­end match to be played at Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena.

Malawi were sup­posed to join Le­sotho and Swaziland for a tri-na­tions se­ries but with­drew be­cause of lack of funds, ac­cord­ing to Motšeremeli.

Last year, Le­sotho and Swaziland met twice, with Lika­tola win­ning the first en­counter 5-3 in Maseru be­fore los­ing the re­turn leg 13-0 in Mba­bane.

How­ever, Motšeremeli said Swaziland would not stand a chance in the week­end match, whose win­ner is ex­pected to be el­e­vated to a higher level of con­ti­nen­tal rugby.

“We are ready to take on Swaziland; our team has been train­ing to­gether for a long time now, hence our con­fi­dence that we will get a pos­i­tive re­sult come Satur­day,” Motšeremeli said.

“The coach (Roy Nyasha Zhou) has now trimmed the squad to 25 from the ini­tial group of 30 play­ers and they are all look­ing for­ward to the match.”

Motšeremeli said it was un­for­tu­nate that Malawi had with­drawn from what had looked to be an ex­cit­ing tour­na­ment.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that Malawi have with­drawn from the com­pe­ti­tion, and it is now only us and Swaziland fight­ing for hon­ours,” said Motšeremeli.

“In this com­pe­ti­tion, na­tions have been grouped ac­cord­ing to their re­gions and the win­ners will grad­u­ate to a higher level of con­ti­nen­tal rugby, hence our de­ter­mi­na­tion to win at all costs.

“This tells you that the match against mo­tion to the first di­vi­sion. Roma Rovers and Liphakoe would be re­plac­ing them in the topflight league fol­low­ing their re­spec­tive wins of the A Di­vi­sion North­ern and South­ern streams.

Liphakoe sec­re­tary Rorisang Mo­suoe said the de­ci­sion by Vo­da­com to ex­tend their rela- Swaziland will be very im­por­tant for this coun­try as a win will en­sure we go up the lad­der of African rugby.”

Ac­cord­ing to Motšeremeli, lo­cal rugby has ex­pe­ri­enced rel­a­tive growth since the FLR was es­tab­lished in 2012. Two lo­cal teams now take part in an am­a­teur league of the Free State, South Africa, which con­firms this growth.

“We value rugby a lot as a fed­er­a­tion and our na­tional team will go all out to win against Swaziland. The stan­dard of rugby in tion­ship with do­mes­tic football was good news for clubs and Le­sotho football in gen­eral.

“I think it’s a good plat­form to change the face of our football, es­pe­cially smaller clubs such as Liphakoe, be­cause it is very dif­fi­cult to sus­tain teams through­out the sea­son, hence we welcome the spon­sor­ship and this Le­sotho has im­proved over the years and a win against Swaziland will help in fur­ther de­vel­op­ing the game in our coun­try.

“The ob­jec­tive is to work hard and push for more de­vel­op­ment, which should come with a win against Swaziland on Satur­day,” Motšeremeli said.

“I’m con­fi­dent that the coach will se­lect play­ers who will help us achieve that goal be­cause like I said, Satur­day’s match means so much to us; a lot would be at stake in that match.” M800 000 ini­tia­tive,” he said,

“We know the painful ex­pe­ri­ence of run­ning a team with­out spon­sor­ship from our time in the A Di­vi­sion last sea­son. That’s why I’m con­fi­dent this busi­ness op­por­tu­nity clubs have been af­forded by Vo­da­com is go­ing to help im­mensely in the growth of our football.”

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