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Do-or-die for Matlama

Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA walk into the lion’s den this afternoon when they play Petro de Luanda on the back of shambolic preparations that were marred by confusion.

The reigning premier league champions’ trip to Angola where they face Petro de Luanda in the return leg of the first round of the CAF Champions’ League this afternoon was characterised by confusion.

They get into the match on the back foot having lost 0-2 at home a fortnight ago.

The team left the country by road in the wee hours of Thursday to OR Tambo where they were supposed to catch an afternoon flight to Luanda.

According to some members of the team who preferred anonymity, they arrived in Johannesburg at around 9am and proceeded straight to the Angolan High Commission for their visas but were surprised that there was no record of their applications being submitted.

“When we arrived at the Angolan High Commission there were no visas and we had to stay there until 2pm and rushed to the airport where we needed to check in at 4pm,” a team member said.

“We left the High Commission without the visas and at the time the players had not had their lunch.”

The team member said they were to receive another shocker when they arrived in Luanda as their accommodation was not booked.

“When we arrived in Angola we were not booked in any hotel and had to go up and down trying to find temporary shelter so that we could rest while finding accommodation closer to the stadium. The process was torturous because of the language barrier because in Angola their second language is Portuguese.

“We felt let done by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) administration because all these things were supposed to have been done by them.”

LeFA secretary General Mokhosi Mohapi confirmed that the visas were not processed and said they have already started disciplinary proceedings against the responsible official.

“All these things cannot be done by me. It’s someone else’s task. I am aware that some mistakes were made and I am already taking action against the responsible people.

“The visas were supposed to have been applied online so that when the Matlama arrived in Johannesburg, all they needed to do was to pay and get their documents but that was not done.

“The accommodation was supposed to have been done but it was also not done but that was because of some technical challenges that they are trying to resolve now,” Mohapi said.

Tse Putsoa will be desperate to score more than two goals this afternoon to overturn the 2-0 deficit at home a fortnight ago.

Matlama, who returned to continental football this season after an eight-year absence, couldn’t handle their opponents’ pace in the first leg but assistant coach Mosito Matela recently told the Sunday Express’ sister paper, the Lesotho Times that they were and aware of what to expect in today’s match.

“Our level of fitness is now where we wanted it to be after last weekend’s Alliance Winter Challenge games and the boys are looking forward for the challenge. We have also been training twice daily to cover for the two days that we will be travelling. It is not yet over as we are faced with a massive task of winning at all costs and I believe that we can do it,” Matela said.


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