Li­oli leave with­out hit­man

Maba fails to travel to Bu­rundi be­cause of visa prob­lem

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

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.

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“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.”

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