THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has given the Likuena coaches a daunting task to reach the final of this year’s COSAFA Cup.
The target was set in the run up to the team’s difficult meeting with the Cranes of Uganda on Saturday at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban.
This was said by the Likuena manager, Rantsubise Matete, during a media briefing this week. He said they have mandated the senior national team’s coaches to reach the final without compromise.
Although, it is not clear, what measures will be taken if the team fails to reach the final, Matete said the LeFA National Executive Committee (NEC) will sit to review the performances of the team after the upcoming CHAN matches against South Africa in July and August this year.
Due to its promising performances in previous editions of the tournament Likuena was once again given a bye to start in the quarter finals rather than at the group stages.
Likuena has made it to the semifinals for the past two years but they have never managed to go beyond and Matete told the media this week that the mandate for the technical team is to take the team to the final.
“The coaches’ mandate is very clear this year; the semifinal is not enough,” Matete said.
“If they get to the semifinal they will not have achieved what we want them. They have reached the final.”
Matete also explained the inclusion of Bantu coaching duo of coach James Madidilane and goalkeeper coach, Postnet Omony. He said they wanted to boost the national team and the duo was a perfect choice given the performance of their team.
“If you look at Bantu, they are one of the most outstanding team in the domestic league, so we could not look any further to reinforce our technical team. This is why we appointed both Omony and Madidilane to come and help,” he said.
Pressed to say what will happen should the team fail to reach the mandated final, Matete said the decision will be made after the CHAN qualifying matches against South Africa.
“At the moment we can’t say what will happen but the LeFA NEC will sit down after the CHAN matches to decide the future of the coaches depending on the results. We are not saying they will be sacked or they will stay. We will see what happens.
“But what we can tell you is that since Ntate Moses was appointed there has been a huge difference in terms of performance. Of course we are not entirely happy but there are positive changes,” Matete said
Meanwhile, one of Likuena’s assistant coaches, Mpitsa Marai, says the team is fired up ahead of the clash with the Cranes of Uganda.
“We had a 23-man squad which was trimmed down to 20 last Friday. We had three weeks of preparations, where we have been working to keep our players in shape both mentally and physically.
“We sat down and watched the clips from our previous matches and tried to watch Uganda to see how they play so that we can identify where we got it wrong. We had good preparations and I promise the nation that we will be victorious on Saturday,” Marai said.
The Likuena technical team has been under-fire from supporters due to the selection of the Black Leopards winger, Luciano Matsoso, who failed to play a single match for his side in the just ended ABSA Premier League.
Marai said they selected the player knowing what he can offer.
“We know that he has not been playing but we selected him because as a technical team we know what he can offer,” Marai said.
Goalkeepers: Sam Ketsekile, Thabiso Lichaba, Monahaheng Ramalefane.
Defenders: Basia Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi, Kopano Tseka, Lesia Thetsane, Bokang Sello, Tšoanelo Koetle.
Midfielders: Sepiriti Malefane, Tšepo Toloane, Tshwarelo Bereng, Tumelo Khutlang, Luciano Matsoso, Jane Thabantšo, Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Hlompho Kalake.
Strikers: Nkoto Masoabi, Thapelo Tale, Motebag Sera.