Maliehe is his own man

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

likuena man­aged to de­fend it since 2010.”

The 30-year-old said he also wanted to use the race to qual­ify for the Olympic Games set for Brazil in Au­gust this year.

“I have been work­ing hard be­cause apart from de­fend­ing my Two Oceans ti­tle, I wanted to qual­ify Likuena in­terim coach Moses Maliehe sur­prised many soc­cer fans when he an­nounced a rel­a­tively new-look squad for the back-to back 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers against the Sey­chelles.

I was among those who doubted the wis­dom of drop­ping tried and tested play­ers at such a cru­cial mo­ment but the man de­serves credit for such brav­ery.

Af­ter go­ing down 2-0 in the first match last Satur­day, Maliehe’s side beat Sey­chelles 2-1 at Set­soto on Tues­day for their first win of the qual­i­fiers.

The per­for­mance in the win might not have been one of the best, but the play­ers showed the right char­ac­ter and at­ti­tude to the game, which means they have a great chance of im­prove­ment go­ing for­ward.

Like I said, we should give credit where it is due be­cause it has been a long time since Likuena won a match in a com­pet­i­tive com­pe­ti­tion such as the Na­tions Cup.

How­ever, the truth of the mat­ter is we played one of the weak­est football na­tions on the con­ti­nent, and the win had to be ex­pected.

Still, it was re­fresh­ing to see this group of play­ers, most of whom have never played at this level, so hun­gry to win at all costs.

I hon­estly think we should have won by a big­ger mar­gin, but it was clear these boys lacked ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yet all that mat­ters is Maliehe be­lieved in for the Olympic Games but things did not go ac­cord­ing to plan,” said Nkhabut­lane.

“I will now go back to the draw­ing these lads and gave them the chance to show what they can do and in re­turn, they de­liv­ered a win in front of their sup­port­ers.

Of course, there is still a long way to go for this group but like I said, this is a young bunch that can only im­prove with time.

I know Maliehe was brave enough to say he wants play­ers who are will­ing to learn, hum­ble and re­spect na­tional colours. How­ever, I still feel this group is go­ing to strug­gle against a pow­er­house such as Al­ge­ria who they meet in their next Af­con qual­i­fier.

That’s why I hope the coach can add a few ex­pe­ri­enced names such as Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane, Nkau Lerotholi, Thapelo Mokhehle and Mabuti Pot­loane. board and see which races I will run next. But for now, I’m happy to have been among the top four run­ners in the 2016 Two Oceans marathon.”

These four still have a lot left in their tank and I be­lieve will add value to the team.

Over­all, I was im­pressed with what I saw against Sey­chelles on this week.

Tumelo Khut­lang raised his hand that he wants to be part of the team with a man-ofthe match per­for­mance and wrapped it up with in­di­vid­ual bril­liance when he scored the win­ner.

Amer­ica-based Jane Tšotleho was also fan­tas­tic on the day and proved he de­served a chance to play for Likuena.

I can go on and on about in­di­vid­ual play­ers who did us proud on Tues­day but like I said, it was also clear they still have much to learn.

The ball is now in the court of the Le­sotho Football As­so­ci­a­tion to make sure they sup­port Maliehe and his team by get­ting them reg­u­lar friendly matches against proper op­po­nents.

For­get Swazi­land and Botswana for a while and get us other coun­tries that can help Likuena im­prove.

The re­gional Cosafa tour­na­ment sched­uled for Namibia in July will surely be a good stage for this team to gain more ex­pe­ri­ence. The good thing about this tour­na­ment is most na­tions send young­sters to the com­pe­ti­tion so our team would be battling their age-mates while gain­ing the re­quired in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure.

in­terim coach Moses Maliehe.

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