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Good luck Likuena

Moorosi Tsiane

THE senior national soccer team, Likuena, will this afternoon clash with Cape Verde in the last 2019 AFCON qualifier in Praia.

The Moses Maliehe coached outfit goes into the match with one foot already at the finals which will be played later this year in Egypt as they seat second in Group L with five points after the already qualified Uganda who have 13 points.

In third position is Tanzania with the same points as Likuena while Cape Verde are anchoring the group with four points.

This is surely the biggest moment ever in our football history and I just can’t help but feel for the players who will have to break their feet fighting for their nation.

There is enormous pressure that comes with the match given the calibre of their opponent. This is the same country which rose from nowhere to qualify for the 2013 edition of the tournament.

In their feat to qualify for the 2013 AFCON, Cape Verde beat some of the continent football powerhouses such as Cameroon.

They had such an exceptional performance in the tournament drawn in Group A alongside South Africa, Angola and Morocco.

Cape Verde drew with South Africa 0–0 in the tournament’s first match, before drawing with Morocco 1–1.

Their first AFCON finals win came at the expense of Angola as they came from a goal down to beat Palancas Negras 2-1 to book a quarterfinal spot in their maiden appearance at the biennial competition. They were however beaten 2-0 by Ghana in the quarterfinals.

I must applaud the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and the government through the ministry of sports for the support they have given to the team in its preparation for the match.

I must admit that I have never felt this positive about this team like now and I am sure with all that has been put on the table, the players also feel the same and will fight tooth and nail to bring victory home.

When they left for Cape Verde on Wednesday, each player was given M6000 for allowances and have also been promised an additional M16 000 for a win while for a draw they will get M10 000.

LeFA has done almost everything to help Likuena prepare for this match and their decision to allow Maliehe to take the team to a high-performance training centre in Pretoria shows how committed they are to help the team make history.

If Likuena qualify, that will be good news not only for this crop of players in the national team but also for football in general here at home.

It is time doors open up for local talent and hopefully, scouts will begin to have interest in local talent.

I think after all has been said and done, what is left for the players to do the job because for a long time, there has been an outcry that they don’t get enough support especially financially. I know this money might not be enough but surely, it brings a glimpse of hope that in future, things will be different. So, now the ball is in the players’ court to decide whether or not they will qualify.

It is not going to be an easy task especially playing away but I believe the psychological training the players went through at their week-long camp in Pretoria will come out handy!

Good luck to the team. I wish them all the best of luck today.

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