Lioli leave without hitman
Maba fails to travel to Burundi because of visa problem
Lioli left for Burundi yesterday without Cameroonian hitman, Pierrejunior Maba, who scored Tse Nala’s goal in the 2-1 defeat to Vital’ô a fortnight ago.
According to club vice-president, Mothoalo Mothoalo, the striker was supposed to travel to Cameroon to secure a visa for the trip to Burundi but due to time constraints, this was not possible.
Lioli battle Vital’ô in Bujumbura on Sunday in the return fixture of the 2016 African Champions League after the first leg defeat at Setsoto Stadium.
Laudit Mavugo struck the opener for the visitors in the 35th minute before Maba leveled matters in the 37th minute. But Hussein Shaban’s 46th minute strike put the Burundi giants in the driving seat ahead of the decisive reverse fixture.
Yet it is the absence of Maba that should have come as a blow for Lioli as the Cameroonian has been a vital cog in the Lioli machine this season.
“We were informed by the Burundi embassy that he had to go to Cameroon for the visa, which was not possible due to time constraints. So it’s a setback for us as he is an important member of our team,” said Mothoalo.
After failing to capitalise on home-ground advantage in the first-leg encounter, Lioli now face an almost insurmountable task of turning the tables before hostile fans away in Burundi.
The Lesotho champions played second fiddle to Vital’ô at Setsoto hence the loss, but coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu believes his charges are good enough to return the favour in Bujumbura.
“We had a meeting as a team to come up with a strategy to bring down Vital’ô in their own backyard.
“I feel the team was not committed enough in the first leg and allowed Vital’ô to dictate matters hence the defeat,” Mokhothu said on Tuesday.
“That is where we got it wrong and I don’t want to see the same thing happening again on Sunday although we will be playing away from home.
“We have to go all out and look for an early goal to unsettle them before their own fans.”
Mokhothu further said they had identified Vital’ô’s weaknesses and hoped to capitalise on the flaws which he however, did not mention.
“We made life difficult for ourselves by conceding two goals at home. We should now go and fight in Burundi, and come back with a win and place in the next round of the tournament,” said Mokhothu.
“Like I said, we would want to exploit their weaknesses early in the match but our players also need to be clinical in front of goal. Without scoring goals, we can’t win the match but like I said, we believe we can advance to the next round at the expense of Vital’ô.”
Mokhothu further revealed experienced playmaker Bushy Moletsane would miss the match again due to injury.
On the absence of Maba, the coach said his case was beyond the coaching staff.
Asked to give a hint of his line-up, Mokhothu said he could make some changes from the side that started the first-leg tie, with goalkeeper, Mohau Kuenane, likely to get the nod because of his vast experience in continental football.
“There could d be three or four changes to get the result that we need as some of the players did not come to the party in the first leg match,” Mokhothu said.
“Yes, we know about Kuenane’s experience;xperience; we have already talked to him so he is preparedared mentally if we decide he should start the match.
“The most important thing in this game is the result we need to get to o the next round of the competition. on.
“The good thing hing is we now know what to expect from them so we won’ton’t be caught by surprise.”