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‘Our dignity at stake’


Moletsane Bushy of Lesotho challenged by Alphonse Modisaotsile of Botswana during the Cosafa Cup match between Lesotho and Botswana on the 09 July 2013 at Arthur Davies Stadium ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Moletsane Bushy of Lesotho challenged by Alphonse Modisaotsile of Botswana during the Cosafa Cup match between Lesotho and Botswana on the 09 July 2013 at Arthur Davies Stadium
©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

…declares underfire coach Seephephe Matete as Likuena host Botswana in make or break tie

Moorosi Tsiane

National team interim coach Seephephe Matete says he is worried by his players’ failure to score goals as the embattled mentor leads Likuena into the first leg of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Botswana at Setsoto Stadium this afternoon.

With the reverse fixture set for the first weekend of next month, Matete is hoping his charges could find the much-needed goals today and take a comfortable lead to Gaborone on 5 July.

The CHAN competition also has personal significance for Matete because his future at the helm of the national team would be determined by how far Likuena go in this continental showcase which is only open to players plying their trade in their home countries and not foreign-based ones.

The veteran coach on Friday told the Sunday Express that he knows “a lot is at stake” in today’s match but also pointed out where he believes the players are getting it wrong.

Last weekend, Likuena were beaten 2-1 by Ethiopia in the opening qualifier of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group J campaign away from home, and face Algeria and the Seychelles in the other matches of the campaign, which on paper, appear insurmountable. With the team losing 2-1 to Madagascar and 2-0 against Swaziland in last month’s Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) qualifiers in South Africa to exit the regional tournament in the group stage, Matete now has CHAN to save his job. This was after the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) gave him a mandate to at least the semis of the COSAFA championship and also do well in the CHAN tournament. The COSAFA debacle has also prompted calls by some fans to fire the coach, hence the importance of winning the CHAN fixture to placate the restive supporters.

“It is very worrying that we are not winning matches but I think the problem starts at club level,” the coach reasoned. “For instance, look at our premier league where the top scorer (Litšepe Marabe of Bantu) is an attacking midfielder. That clearly shows our strikers lack that hunger to score goals.

“This is a very crucial match that we are playing on Sunday and we are working flat-out to ensure we rectify this problem before then but like I said, clubs need to play their part in making sure the players are on top of their game, particularly the strikers. This is a problem that cannot be fixed at national level alone.”

The Matlama legend also noted scoring goals was not all about being talented, but also attitude.

“We have very skillful players in this country but it’s as if they don’t understand that talent alone is not enough in football; our strikers lack the right attitude which is why we are struggling to find the back of the net. It is indeed a worrying factor.”

However, Matete heaped praise on Kick4Life striker Thabiso Brown, insisting he is currently the best striker in the country although there are some aspects of his game that still need to be worked on.

“Brown is a very talented striker with an eye for a goal, but he is only good inside the box. We are currently working on his runs outside the penalty area, but unfortunately, he was injured before we left for Ethiopia last weekend so he couldn’t play. Hopefully, he will be available for us on Sunday,” he said.

Regarding today’s match, Matete said Likuena would need to be on top of their game to prevail over the Zebras.

“You don’t change a winning team, but if it is not getting the needed results, then change becomes inevitable. This means there might be changes to the team that played in Ethiopia and of-course, we have called-up Ralekoti Mokhahlane for Mabuti Potloane who was injured in Ethiopia,” he said.

According to Matete, losing twice against Botswana in recent friendlies should not discourage the players going into today’s crunch tie.

“Friendlies are different from competitive matches and the fact that we lost twice against them does not worry me that much. On Sunday, it will be a different ball-game altogether and we must go all out for maximum points because we will be playing at home. We need to score as many goals as possible in the first leg to have a safe cushion for the return leg which is obviously going to be very tough as we will in their own backyard in Gaborone.”

He continued: “Botswana are good; they have speedy players who also play a physical game so it will not be easy to beat them. But we are going to be more offensive and use a lot of attacking players as we will be playing in familiar surroundings. Our dignity and pride as a nation are at stake so we have to win this fixture,” Matete added.


Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane (Lioli), Kananelo Makhooane (Likhopo).

Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi (Matlama), Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu), Jerry Kamele (Lioli), Thabiso Mohapi (Bantu), Bokang Mothoana (Likhopo), Motiki Mohale (Lerotholi Polytechnic).

Midfielders: Tšoanelo Koetle, Motlalepula Mofolo, Teboho Lekhooa, Bushy Moletsane (all Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Ralekoti Mokhahlane (LCS), Jane Thabantšo (Matlama)

Strikers: Litšepe Marabe (Bantu), Thabiso Brown (Kick4Life), Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Tumelo Khutlang (Sundawana).


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