Likuena to play eSwatini in friendlies
LIKUENA has lined up two friendlies with eSwatini early next month in preparation for their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers tie against Cape Verde in September this year.
The matches have been penned in for the first weekend of September at Setsoto Stadium and Maputsoe DIFA Stadium.
Likuena play Cape Verde in their second fixture of Group L on 9 September 2018 after their 1 all draw away to Tanzania in June last year.
The Moses Maliehe coached outfit heads into the match in second position of the group after Uganda while Cape Verde are anchor the group with no point after losing to Uganda in their opening match.
Maliehe told the Sunday Express on Thursday that the friendlies are exactly what his side needed before their clash with Cape Verde. He said the friendlies would help him rectify problems in his team.
“It is important that we play friendlies before playing Cape Verde to gauge the areas that need improvement and the extent we need to work on,” Maliehe said.
“We have been training for four weeks now this was our last week to work on the players’ fitness. We are now starting ball work because time is no longer on our side.”
Commenting on why the always plays eSwatini in its friendlies, Maliehe said they have no option as other nations have just commenced their league seasons hence premiership teams would be reluctant to release players for national duty. He also noted that his side also lacks funds hence it cannot be choosy.
“Leagues have just started in most of the countries in the region and national teams struggle to get players. The other issue is that of lack of funds. However, we seem not to be the only team that is struggling in that regard as we had lined up a friendly with Botswana but they too did not have money so the match was cancelled.
“Botswana are playing Angola in their AFCON qualifier and it is sad that they will not play any friendly match before such an important fixture,” Maliehe said.
Maliehe said as much as he is banking on his COSAFA squad, he has also called some new faces into the team as he wants them get exposure at national level to prepare them for instances when they will be required for national duty.
“Our structures are not ideal. The fact that we do not have under-20 and under-23 now makes it even harder for players to get exposure at an earlier stage. However, we have called some new and young players into the team so that they start learning the ropes for and they get ready for the time when they will be needed.”
New faces in the side are LDF duo of Lepheana Mofolo and Thabang Rabi, LCS winger Thetso Phosholi, Liphakoe attacking midfielder Setho Moshoeshoe and winger Tsepang Makapa.