LIKUENA interim coach Leslie Notši says they cannot afford to lose when they host South Africa this afternoon in a CHAN qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.
Notši told the Sunday Express on Friday that although the encounters would be tough, they must do all they can to win today’s game.
The reverse leg is scheduled for Dobson Ville Stadium in Soweto next Sunday.
CHAN exclusively features players who are active in local leagues and are qualified to play in the ongoing season.
South Africa selected a predominantly young squad for the tournament. Most of the players in the side are in South Africa’s under-23 side which is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But Notši said the fact that South Africa is not bringing big names puts his side under more pressure because Basotho’s expectations are high.
“I have learnt that they (South Africa) are not bringing big names for this match and that comes with pressure because the expectations are high and we cannot afford to lose,” Notši said.
He said he was aware of the danger that can be posed by Bafana Bafana and he hopes his side remains confident. Notši said he is anticipating a big crowd at the match and said he hopes that his players will not choke.
“They might not be big names, but they are quick and good playing wide just as Botswana played and I think the preparatory matches helped us.
“The last time we played South Africa at home, the mood was good when we left camp with the players singing on the bus and when we arrived at the stadium, it was a full house. There were so many people even on the outside the stadium and suddenly, the players went mum. The crowd scared them.
“Their level of confidence is good so far but I am also anticipating a big crowd, so my worry is that they may develop jitters again. However, the comforting factor is that some of the players from teams like Matlama, Bantu and Lioli are used to such an atmosphere and won’t be easily intimidated,” Notši said.
He added that the side also has a chance to bring joy to Basotho who are saddled by serious political problems.
“There is so much happening in the country at the moment including political instability and I just hope we seize this moment and try to give Basotho something to cheer them up and be proud off,” Notši said.