Pride at stake: Maliehe
. . . as Likuena face off with Algeria
LIKUENA interim coach Moses Maliehe says bragging rights will be at stake when they face Algeria at the Algiers Independence Stadium this evening.
The match against Algeria is the last fixture of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, although the Desert Foxes have already qualified for the continental football showpiece to be held next year in Gabon.
Likuena head into the match firmly rooted at the bottom of the four-team table with three points behind third-placed Mauritius which has four. Algeria with 13 points and Ethiopia (8) occupy first and second positions respectively.
In an interview with Sunday Express from Algeria, Maliehe said they travelled and settled well in the North African country and were ready for the battle.
“We traveled well and the players have acclimatised to the heat. We’re ready to do battle as there are still bragging rights to fight for even though we are technically out of qualifying for Rwanda next year,” Maliehe said.
He said the allowances row that disrupted the team a day before departure was now water under the bridge as their focus was on the match.
“Many things happened before we left but we don’t want to look back on that as our focus is solely on the match. The boys are now in the right frame of mind,” he said.
The former Matlama defender said considering the team Algeria had assembled, it would not be easy for Likuena. He, however, indicated football could not be predicted and his team could still spring an upset.
“They have assembled all their best players from all over Europe so that shows they are serious about this tie and not taking us for granted. It is not going to be easy for us but I trust my players and believe they will do the job. Of course it’s not going to be a walk in the park but football is football and can’t be predicted,” said Maliehe.
Maliehe said the fact that they are out of the race doesn’t mean they are not under pressure as football is always accompanied by pressure to achieve results.
“Football and pressure always go together, so it doesn’t matter whether we are already out or not. There will always be a pressure because at the end we are all playing for a win,” he added.
Maliehe also pleaded for more government support.
“You know we playing a highly motivated side and it is about time our government started to look at football with a different eye. The players also need to be motivated when representing their country,” said Maliehe.
Goalkeepers: Liteboho Mokhehle (Lioli), Daniel Jouse (LCS)
Defenders: Kopano Tseka, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo, Basia Makepe (all Lioli), Sepiriti Malefane (Bantu), Motlomelo Mkhwanazi (Sundawana).
Midfielders: Montoeli Sonopo, Jerry Kamela (both Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Kefuoe Mahula, Jane Thabantšo, Mabuti Potloane, (all Matlama), Tsotleho Jane (Richmond Kickers US).
Strikers: Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Motebang Sera (Matlama), Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli), Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS).