Palanquinhas have vowed to beat Lesotho in today’s qualifier.
ANGOLA have vowed to give Lesotho a run for their money when the two sides lock horns today in the penultimate qualifier of the 2015 African Youth Championship scheduled for Setsoto stadium.
Makoanyane XI, as the national under-20 football team is affectionately known, host the 2013 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) under-20 semifinalists in the first of the two-legged qualifier, with the return fixture set for Luanda on the weekend of 23-25 May.
Angola head of delegation, João Lusevikueno, on Friday told the Sunday Express during the team’s training session at Setsoto that Lesotho would have to work extra hard to come out with a win in today’s fixture.
“This is not going to be an easy match for us because we are playing away from home. But it won’t be a stroll in the park for Lesotho either, as we will not settle for anything less than a win; we are here to win the match and take a healthy lead into the reverse fixture.
“Our boys understand that we have to win this match, and ensure they are not under too much pressure in the return leg,” Lusevikueno said.
According to Lusevikueno, it has been “too long” since Palanquinhas, as the Angola under-20 football team is popularly known, qualified for the tournament.
“I can’t even remember when last we qualified for this competition and I believe this year, we have a very good squad that can challenge for honors and the aim is to book our spot in this continental showpiece.
“We have brought three players who play in Portugal and one at South Africa’s SuperSport United. These boys have added great value to the squad since most of the players don’t have international experience, except for a few who played in last year’s Cosafa tournament here in December.
“The fact that we have been here before means we know the conditions in Lesotho; it means we are not complete strangers in this country.
“We have seen how Basotho rally behind their team, but the players are ready for the challenge. Also, we have seen that the current Lesotho team has very good players, but again, we know how to deal with them. Like I said, we are confident of leaving this country with all the three points,” said Lusevikueno.
Meanwhile, Makoanyane XI coach, Moses Maliehe also told the Sunday Express he expects a tough match against the Angolans.
“It will be a very difficult match for us, but I am confident we are going to win at home and then see how we deal with them in the return leg,” Maliehe said.
Maliehe said while the Makoanyane XI preparations have not been smooth due to the absence of some players, the team had nonetheless, worked on the mistakes which resulted in the 2-1 home defeat to Swaziland three week ago. After winning the competition’s first leg, first round tie 3-0 in Mbabane, Makoanyane XI suffered a shock loss at home in the reverse fixture, leading to severe criticism by the fans.
“Some of the players are preparing for their examinations, which is making it difficult for us regarding our training schedule, but at the same time I am confident we will win this match. Again, we have worked on the loopholes which resulted in the defeat to Swaziland in the return leg of the first round qualifier, so we are ready for the Angola test,” said Maliehe.