Crunch time for Likatola
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.