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Ntobo raring to go

by Sunday Express
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Veteran Likuena defender Moitheri Ntobo

Veteran Likuena defender Moitheri Ntobo

Moorosi Tsiane

Iconic national team defender Moitheri Ntobo believes Lesotho will beat the Comoros in Thursday’s 2018 Fifa World Cup preliminary round first leg match set for Moroni.

Ntobo (35) retired from Likuena last year for the second time but has since been recalled by national team coach, Seephephe Matete, to help shore-up the defence which has been shaky in his absence.

Lesotho face the island nation in the return leg five days later at Setsoto Stadium, and Ntobo is confident Likuena have what it takes to prevail over their opponents.

The towering defender on Friday told the Sunday Express he hopes his presence and experience would help the team beat the Comoros and book a date with Ghana in the next stage of the qualifiers.

“I don’t have much to say about my return to the national team. What happened was we sat down with the coach and talked about it so it feels good to be back. I hope my experience will help the team win our next two fixtures against the Comoros because we should not look too far ahead.

“However, football is football and anything is possible. My return doesn’t guarantee us anything because we will still have to work hard be extremely committed to realise the success we are looking for,” Ntobo said.

The LCS skipper further said he had been following the team and feels they were unlucky to lose some of their matches.

In their last two matches, Likuena let in two goals in the second half away from home to let Ethiopia come from a goal down to register 2-1 win in June, while last month, they conceded two goals in the last five minutes against Algeria to lose the tie 3-1 at Setsoto. Both were Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group J qualifiers.

Said Ntobo, who was the national team captain when he called it a day after Lesotho lost their 2015 AFCON qualifier against Gabon 4-2 in Libreville on 19 November 2014: “Look, in some of the matches, you could see the boys were just unlucky to lose because they would have been playing well.

“But again, experience is important in a team. However that experience alone can’t produce us results so we still need that new blood because the youngsters’ energy and our experience will complement each other.

“I also think we have to start playing attacking football more than defending as they always say the best way to defend is to attack.”

Ntobo also said morale among the players is high ahead of the team’s departure for the Comoros this afternoon.

“We will be leaving on Sunday and the mood is good in the team and everyone in the team is hungry for a win. Remember, the last time we won a match was last year so you can understand the frustration we are all going through,” said the LCS captain.

On his fitness, Ntobo says he is in perfect condition.

“I have been playing for LCS and I am still in good shape. I believe that is one of the reasons the coach recalled me, in addition to my experience.”

Likuena squad

Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane (Lioli), Sam Ketsekile (LCS).

Defenders: Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu), Jerry Kamele (Lioli), Nkau Lerotholi (Matlama), Motheri Ntobo (LCS), Tšoanelo Koetle (Lioli), Basia Makepe (Lioli).

Midfielders: Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama), Ralekoti Mokhahlane (LCS), Bushy Moletsane (Lioli), Bokang Mothoana (Likhopo), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Jane Thabantšo (Matlama), Lekhanya Lekhanya (Lioli).

Strikers: Thapelo Tale (Likhopo), Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS), Litšepe Marabe (Bantu).






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