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Likuena can beat Cape Verde: Hlojeng

Moorosi Tsiane

FORMER Likuena captain Tšepo Hlojeng says the national team stands a real chance of upsetting Cape Verde when the two sides meet this afternoon in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.

The Moses Maliehe coached outfit goes into the match sitting second in group L behind Uganda after they played to a 1-1 draw with Tanzania in June last year.

Tanzania are in third while Cape Verde anchor the Group after they lost to Uganda in their first match.

Likuena goes into the match with heads up high following their impressive performance at this year’s COSAFA Cup where they finished third in June this year.

Hlojeng, a defender in his hey-days at LCS and Rovers and also captained the first national side to reach the COSAFA final in 2000, said Likuena has the quality to beat Cape Verde.

“Our team can compete with Cape Verde especially because this is a home fixture,” Hlojeng said.

“We just need to take our chances as playing at home gives us that edge which we need to be more offensive.

“We have the quality now in our team and have players who are playing in foreign leagues. I believe they will add some confidence to the rest of the team because they have exposure which is very important.”

Hlojeng, who was also announced as the new Kick4Life assistant coach on Wednesday, said Likuena also has an advantage as the players have played together for a long time.

“This team has played together for a long time now and they have shown improvement collectively team and their recent results bear testimony to that,” he said.

He admitted that the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde who have made two appearances in the AFCON finals in 2013 and 2015 will not be push overs but maintained that Likuena must use its home advantage.

In their first appearance at AFCON, Cape Verde were beaten 2-0 by Ghana in the quarter finals through a second half brace from Wakaso Mubarak.

In 2015 the Islanders failed to pass the group stages playing three draws, a 1-1 against Tunisia and two goalless draws against DR Congo and Zambia.

The Lúcio Antunes coached outfit failed to qualify for the last edition of the tournament which was staged in Gabon last year.

“Cape Verde are not a bad side but we are playing at home and we need to use that advantage. Of course, they have players more playing in more professional leagues but I have seen our players growing and I am confident that they can cause an upset on Sunday (today).

“It is very important that they win this first leg because it is not going to be easy playing away.”

Hlojeng further urged Basotho to support the players and go to the stadium in big numbers.

“This is a very important match for the boys and as a former player I know the pressure that comes with playing at this stage. So, I wish Basotho go out in numbers to rally behind the team and their coach. We are supposed to go there as supporters not to discourage the players. Let us be patient with the players and motivate them,” Hlojeng said.

Likuena travels to Uganda on 10th October and hosts the same opponents three days later.

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