Crunch time for Lika­tola

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

The na­tional rugby team, Lika­tola, will bat­tle-it-out in the Rugby Africa Cup qual­i­fiers set for Rwanda from 16-22 May.

The com­pe­ti­tion is set to fea­ture Le­sotho, Bu­rundi, Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo and hosts Rwanda, with the teams fight­ing to qual­ify for con­ti­nen­tal rugby’s 1 C Cat­e­gory.

At the mo­ment, the coun­tries are not cat- ego­rized by Rugby Africa, pre­vi­ously known as the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Rugby.

Ac­cord­ing to Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho Rugby (FRL) vice-pres­i­dent Moleleki Moleleki, the qual­i­fiers give Lika­tola a great op­por­tu­nity for el­e­va­tion and also much-needed in­ter­na­tional ac­tion. The team’s last in­ter­na­tional was against Swazi­land in July last year.

“We were sup­posed to play the qual­i­fiers against Swazi­land and Malawi last year here in Maseru, but un­for­tu­nately, Malawi failed to make it her cit­ing fund­ing prob­lems. We ended up play­ing Swazi­land only and we beat them 13-10. Those were sup­posed to be our 1C qual­i­fiers but Rugby Africa told us one match wasn’t enough so we had to wait. At least, the wait­ing is now over and we are look­ing for­ward to th­ese games,” Moleleki said.

“Chances are the num­ber of coun­tries that will be tak­ing part in the tour­na­ment may in­crease but it has not been con­firmed as yet.”

Moleleki said this time around it is not only about win­ning but the teams’ stan­dard of play would also de­cide their fate.

“The main tar­get is to qual­ify for the 1C stage so it is more dif­fi­cult for us now that we will be play­ing many coun­tries. Again, it will take more than just a win to qual­ify be­cause Rugby Africa and World Rugby of­fi­cials will be there to as­sess teams’ per­for­mances. This will be used to de­cide whether a team de­serves to play in 1C or not,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Moleleki, Lika­tola are set to play a friendly match against Botswana on 30 April at Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena in prepa­ra­tion for the tour­na­ment.

“The Botswana match is go­ing to be our last prac­tice fix­ture be­fore the Rwanda qual­i­fiers. Our na­tional coach, Roy Nyasha, will soon be an­nounc­ing the team for the tour­na­ment,” said Moleleki.

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