Lika­tola sound bat­tle cry

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Na­tional rugby team coach Roy Nyasha Zhou has de­clared his team ready for Satur­day’s rugby con­test against Botswana.

the match is set for Bam­batha tšita Sports arena and forms part of le­sotho’s prepa­ra­tions for the africa Cup cham­pi­onship to be held in Rwanda from 15-21 June.

the Botswana team is ex­pected in the coun­try to­day and would be camp­ing in ty while the le­sotho team has set base in Mo­hale’s Hoek ahead of the crunch tie.

“this is a big match for us which is also part of our prepa­ra­tions for the africa Cup Divi­sion 2 tour­na­ment set for Ki­gali in June,” Zhou said.

“Botswana is one of those coun­tries al­ready ranked (by Rugby africa) so our tar­get is also to see our team be­ing ranked. this is the plat­form to put our team on the map and make a name for our­selves, hence we will be go­ing for a win and call on the na­tion to come to the match in num­bers and sup­port us.”

the Rwanda com­pe­ti­tion would see lika­tola, as the le­sotho team is also known, face hosts Rwanda, Burundi and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

How­ever, speak­ing about the Botswana match, Zhou said his charges would have to be at their best to avenge a 44-3 de­feat they suf­fered in June 2014.

“it is not re­ally about re­venge, but we will have that in mind go­ing into that match,” said Zhou.

“We know they are a tough side, but we are very mo­ti­vated and rar­ing to go and get the win that we want.

“our team has been boosted by the ar­rival of five play­ers based in South Africa who bring the much-needed in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure into the team.”

The five play­ers who ply their trade at South african uni­ver­si­ties are le­bo­hang Ntšinyi, thabo Makuta, Sech­aba Mokhele and the Mat­soso broth­ers lapi and lehlo- hon­olo.

“i re­ally feel we have grown as a team and the play­ers are in good shape to give their best against Botswana,” Zhou added.

Mean­while, Zhou down­played the ab­sence of Gi­ants play­ers whose team pulled out of the Fed­er­a­tion of le­sotho Rugby in Fe­bru­ary this year, cit­ing al­leged mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and poor ref­er­ee­ing.

the fed­er­a­tion re­sponded by slap­ping the team with a two-year sus­pen­sion which ef­fec­tively ruled out the play­ers from na­tional duty un­til 2018.

The Botswana match would be the first time le­sotho play an in­ter­na­tional tie with­out play­ers from the coun­try’s lead­ing club. Nine of the play­ers fea­tured in le­sotho’s last match against Swaziland in July last year in which lika­tola won 13-10.

“it’s true we had nine of their play­ers in our last match against Swaziland, but we still had fif­teen from the other teams and we have made peace with that is­sue and have moved on.

“We still have good play­ers ca­pa­ble of mak­ing us proud which will be our goal go­ing into the match against Botswana,” Zhou said.

Lika­tola squad Sa­muel takama (cap­tain), tšeliso Mabi­tle, lehlo­honolo Mat­soso, Mokone Cha­bana, Khosana thamae, Motheo Mokhothu, lapi Mat­soso, Mphaki Karabo, ti­nashe Mu­gayi, Molumo Retha­bile, Moleleki Moleleki, Se­dumo Monikasi, Sech­aba Mokhele, Reatile Joale, thabo Makuta, thiba thakhisi, Mot­latsi Moabi, le­bo­hang Ntšinyi, tšepo No­mandla, litšitso Motšeremeli, Seabata tsoeute, Mets­ing Mahloane, tlali Nkuka.

Lika­tola squad in this file pic­ture.

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