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Injury fears dog Bahlabani

Pascalinah Kabi

 MASERU — The Bahlabani technical team was by last night still sweating over the fitness of two key players ahead of the national Under-17 side’s continental qualifier against Cameroon this afternoon.

The two sides will lock horns in a Caf Under-17 Youth Championships qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.

The fitness of central defenders Mafa Moremoholo and Ts’eliso Ramathe, nursing groin and muscle injuries respectively, has been a cause for concern in the Bahlabani camp ahead of the big match.

Both players were expected to play a pivotal role for Lesotho against the physically imposing Cameroonians.

The duo will have to pass a late fitness test today if they are to make the starting XI.

Bahlabani technical adviser Mahao Matete told the Sunday Express last night that there was a chance both Moremoholo and Ramathe could be part of today’s game.

On Friday he had said they were really worried about the fitness of the two big defenders.

“We are 90 percent ready only because our two central defenders are not yet ready for Sunday’s match. One has a groin injury while the other one is suffering from a muscle injury,” Matete said.

He said they needed Moremoholo and Ramathe because their physique could match that of the Cameroonians.

“Because Cameroonians are taller and heftier than us, those are the two players who can play well in defence because of their physique,” Matete said.

“If those two are fine by Sunday, I can safely say we are going to win.”

Apart from the two, Bahlabani had a clean bill of health.

Bahlabani will need a comfortable win to take to the second leg in Cameroon in a fortnight’s time.

Matete said the youth side were pumped up for the clash against one of Africa’s football powerhouses.

“The spirit is high among the players and we just need a solid defence on Sunday,” he said.

The West African side started arriving in Maseru in batches on Friday, with the last group landing yesterday.

Cameroon head coach Richard Towa said he was expecting a tough game against the hosts but remained confident his charges would prevail in today’s match.

“I assembled a young team which I intend to groom for the senior team, Indomitable Lions,” he said after arriving in the country.

If they beat Cameroon over the two legs, Lesotho will face Mali in the final qualifying round.

In the last round Bahlabani dispatched Mozambique 5-1 on aggregate.

The next Caf Under-17 Youth Championships will be held in Rwanda next year.

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