Matete blames mis­fir­ing play­ers

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Na­tional team in­terim coach, Seep­hephe Matete, lamented poor fin­ish­ing af­ter Le­sotho’s were booted out of the 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers by the Co­moros this week.

The two na­tions drew 1-1 at Set­soto sta­dium on Tues­day night af­ter a goal­less draw in the first leg match last week in Moroni.

How­ever, the is­lan­ders pro­gressed to the next stage of the qual­i­fiers due to the away-goals rule.

This is the first time the Co­moros have made it past the pre­lim­i­nary stage of a big com­pe­ti­tion, which is why Likuena should be ashamed of mak­ing such un­for­tu­nate his­tory.

How­ever, Matete — who left with his un­der­per­form­ing charges yes­ter­day for Bulawayo where they face Zim­babwe on Sun­day in the last qual­i­fier of the 2016 African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (CHAN) — has blamed his play­ers’ fail­ure to score for the Co­moros de­ba­cle.

“This is what hap­pens when you don’t take your chances,” Matete said af­ter the match.

“We had sev­eral chances to kill the game af­ter we opened the scor­ing, but our fin­ish­ing was very poor and we paid the prize in the end.”

Matete in­sisted his team should have com­fort­ably beaten the Co­moros be­cause of the game-plan he had in place.

“We came here with a plan and that was to play Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane as our chief striker,” ex­plained Matete.

“That change seemed to be work­ing as he scored early in the match.

“Be­cause we wanted to score many goals, we in­tro­duced an­other striker in the sec­ond half. But we could not cap­i­talise on the chances we cre­ated, and we got pun­ished for it.”

The vet­eran coach said Likuena now have to switch their fo­cus to the Zim­babwe tie, whose re­turn leg takes place two weeks later at Set­soto sta­dium.

“We have lost and we are dis­ap­pointed, but our fo­cus is now on re­cov­er­ing and the Zim­babwe tie,” he said.

Mean­while, in Tues­day’s match, Likuena took the lead in the 21st minute through a header by Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane fol­low­ing a tan­ta­lis­ing cross from mid­fielder Jerry Kamele.

How­ever, the striker also squan­dered nu­mer­ous chances along­side Bushy Mo­let­sane and Lekhanya Lekhanya.

France-based Ma­hamed M’changana then scored the equaliser in the 71st min- ute, break­ing the hearts of Ba­sotho in the process.

Former Likuena striker Motlatsi Shale says the ball is now in the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LEFA) court as far as the way for­ward is con­cerned.

“We can say all of sorts of things, but it will not make any dif­fer­ence be­cause we are out of the World Cup.

“Every­thing is now in the hands of lefa of­fi­cials; they have to give their side of the story re­gard­ing the poor per­for­mance of the na­tional team,” Shale said.

“If LEFA of­fi­cials are happy with what is hap­pen­ing, they have to come out and say so. For me, what is hap­pen­ing with the team is not right. Be­ing booted out of a com­pe­ti­tion by a team as poor as the Co­moros is a dis­grace, to say the least. We should have scored many goals even by the half-time break, but this was not the case.”

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