Mo­ment of truth for Li­oli

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LI­OLI coach Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu says Tse Nala will do the na­tion proud when they host Bu­run­dian side Vi­tal’ô Foot­ball Club in the 2016 Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball Cham­pi­ons League pre­lim­i­nary round first leg match set for Set­soto sta­dium on Sun­day.

“Our prepa­ra­tions for this match started a long time ago and this week is just about pol­ish­ing up,” Mokhothu told the Le­sotho Times this week.

“What we will need to do in the match is study their weak­nesses and cap­i­talise on them be­cause we have to make the most of our home ad­van­tage. Home ground ad­van­tage is very im­por­tant in th­ese kind of matches, and we have to do all that it takes to win the first leg tie on our patch.”

The Li­oli coach ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with his team’s prepa­ra­tions ahead of the cru­cial tie.

“I have done my part in pre­par­ing the team, and all that is left is for the play­ers to fin­ish the job in the field of play,” Mokhothu said.

“Dur­ing our prepa­ra­tions, we con­cen­trated on scor­ing, and I be­lieve the play­ers are ready to rise to the oc­ca­sion on Sun­day by play­ing good foot­ball and net­ting enough goals to carry us to the next round of the com­pe­ti­tion.”

The Li­oli men­tor is, how­ever, sweat­ing on the fit­ness of star mid­fielder Bushy Mo­let­sane who re­cently re­turned to train­ing af­ter a groin in­jury.

“Bushy has fi­nally re­turned to train­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, he was un­able to get some game time in our last two league matches as they were very phys­i­cal and I needed to pro­tect him from fur­ther in­jury.

“We will as­sess his sit­u­a­tion this week and see if he can play a role in any of the two qual­i­fiers,” Mokhothu said.

He also called on foot­ball sup­port­ers, re­gard­less of club af­fil­i­a­tion, to come to the na­tional sta­dium and sup­port Li­oli.

“I think we need to learn as a coun­try and foot­ball sup­port­ers to rally be­hind our team for the whole match, whether they are play­ing well or not,” Mokhothu said.

“What mat­ters more than club affini­ties is the pride of the coun­try which will be at stake. It is only when the play­ers have the back­ing of the whole coun­try that they can per­form be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Mean­while, for­mer Likuena coach, Les­lie Notši, whose na­tional side de­feated Bu­rundi 3-2 on ag­gre­gate in the pre­lim­i­nary round of the 2014 World Cup qual­i­fiers, said Li­oli had the met­tle to beat Vi­tal’ô Foot­ball Club.

“I think Vi­tal’ô Foot­ball Club will be a very phys­i­cal side, but I be­lieve Li­oli can go toe to toe with the Bu­run­dian team. What they must be more con­cerned with is the psy­cho­log­i­cal bat­tle,” Notši said.

“The big­gest chal­lenge for the Li­oli coach is to make sure that his play­ers be­lieve in them­selves and don’t get in­tim­i­dated as Vi­tal’ô Foot­ball Club will want to get a point away from home.

“I also feel Li­oli has an ad­van­tage when it comes to in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure since their squad con­sists of Likuena play­ers and some of them were part of the Le­sotho team at the 2011 African Youth Cham­pi­onships.

Li­oli stars, Jerry Kamele, Kananelo Makhooane, Kano Tseka, Ba­sia Makepe, Tšoanelo Koe­tle, Mafa More­mo­holo, Sale­bone Lekhooa and Mon­toeli Sonopo were all part of Notši’s team that played at the youth tour­na­ment played in South Africa.

“They should just play their nor­mal game and try to be clin­i­cal in front of goal like they have been do­ing,” he said.

The match will kick-off at 3pm, with the se­cond leg set for 28 Fe­bru­ary 2016 in the East African na­tion.

Li­oli Head Coach Mosholu Mokhothu chats with his play­ers in this file pic­ture.

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