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D-Day for Likuena


Moorosi Tsiane and Mikia Kalati

Former national team striker, Teele Ntšonyana, has advised Likuena to go on the offensive in today’s return leg of the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Zimbabwe at Setsoto Stadium.

Seephephe Matete’s charges were beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Bulawayo last Sunday and need to score two unanswered goals to qualify for the tournament scheduled for Rwanda in January next year.

According to Ntšonyana, Likuena can overturn the 3-1 deficit provided they terrorise the Warriors who are likely going to be defensive to protect their advantage.

“This is make-or-break for Likuena; they have to win the match so they need to be more offensive because obviously Zimbabwe are going to defend. We will be playing to win this tie  while Zimbabwe will only be here not to lose it so for them, a draw or one-nil loss would still be fine.”

Ntšonyana advised Matete to field two outright strikers who are also good headers of the ball.

“Likuena need to change their approach and play with at-least two strikers who are good in the air because we are likely to be forced to attack from the wings. I can foresee Zimbabwe overcrowding the midfield and putting more numbers behind the ball, and should that happen, then we have to attack them from the wings, hence the need to have strikers who are good headers of the ball,” said Ntšonyana, who played professional football with Wits University and Witbank Aces in the South African Premier League.

Because the last thing Likuena need is pressure, Ntšonyana said they need to score early to settle their nerves.

“It is important for Likuena to find an early goal to avoid putting themselves under pressure but at the same time, they have to extra-careful because Zimbabwe can catch us on the counterattack. And if Zimbabwe score first, it will make matters worse for our boys,” he said.

The former Arsenal and Swallows hitman also said Likuena had nothing to lose as they are already two goals down.

“Likuena already have a two-goal deficit so there is nothing to lose here. They just have to take those risks, play attacking football, create many chances and make sure they convert them.

“But having said that, the final decision on how the match should be played rests on the coaches. What we can only do is advice because we all love this team and want to see it being successful.”

Ntšonyana, who is currently coaching Vodacom Premier League side Liphakoe, also advised the players to have “tactical discipline”.

“Tactical discipline is still a major problem for our players. They lack the necessary tactics and it is quite difficult for them to play in these big competitions because they are too technical. That  is why we have been performing poorly in these internationals and we honestly have a problem that needs to be fixed at grassroots level,” said Ntšonyana.

Meanwhile, Matete believes Likuena can beat Zimbabwe and qualify for their maiden CHAN tournament.

“We have not lost hope; football is a game of surprises and you never know what will happen until the final whistle,” Matete said on Tuesday.

“We have to go all out on Sunday and be very offensive from the word go and score the goals we need to qualify for Rwanda.”

According to Matete, his charges were unlucky to lose in Bulawayo.

“We were the better team until the home side scored a penalty and thereafter, it was very difficult for us.

“We had chances of our own and once again, squandered them and could not get back into the game.

“We have the capacity to score the two goals and win the match, but it will not be easy because of a combination of factors,” Matete said.

“Zimbabwe can be beaten because I feel they were helped by home-ground advantage as their supporters were really behind them.

“Unfortunately, we don’t get that kind of support playing at our homeground because our very own people always turn against their own players when the game is not going our way.

“Our supporters make life very difficult for their own players; they boo them instead of cheering when things are not going well and that kills the boys’ spirits. They now feel it’s better playing away from home than at Setsoto.

“That’s why I am appealing to the fans to change their mentality and support Likuena during both the good and bad times.”


Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane (Lioli), Sam Ketsekile (LCS).

Defenders: Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu), Jerry Kamele (Lioli), Moitheri Ntobo (LCS), Tšoanelo Koetle (Lioli), Basia Makepe (Lioli). 

Midfielders: Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama), Ralekoti Mokhahlane (LCS), Phafa Tšosane (Matlama) Bushy Moletsane (Lioli), Bokang Mothoana (Likhopo), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Jane Thabantšo (Matlama), Lekhanya Lekhanya (Lioli), Motlalepula Mofolo (Lioli). 

Strikers: Thapelo Tale (Likhopo), Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS).



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