Likuena star midfielder Hlompho Kalake has called on his teammates to be fearless ahead of the back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The Lesotho National team will kick start their Afcon campaign against the Leone Stars in Freetown on November 13th before taking on the Super Eagles of Nigeria four days later at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.

Kalake feels Likuena has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two-years and have what it takes to give the two West African countries a run for their money in Group L that also has Benin.

“We came very close to securing qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and again recently with the African Nations Championship (CHAN), where we lost to Zimbabwe in the final round of the qualifiers,” Kalake said.

“For me, those are the signs that we are now a competitive team and have managed to close the gap between us and most of these countries that used to beat us in almost every game. We just have to maintain those standards and improve with every game we play.”

The 25-year-old midfielder is confident the experience of the likes of Ts’oarelo Bereng, Tumelo Khutlang and Motebang Sera, who play their football in South Africa, will play an important role in the two games against Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

“I think this is the best Likuena team I have played for since winning my first cap. We have a lot of experience in the squad and also have players playing in a professional league in South Africa and I have no doubt that they will make our squad even stronger,” the star midfielder stated.

“We just have to believe in our abilities and be fearless heading into the two matches because both countries have quality players and some of them play in top leagues in Europe.

“But, I still believe that we can achieve something as a group because my dream has always been to play in a tournament like the Africa Cup of Nations. I was inspired by the late Sello ‘Muso, when he was playing for the national team and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“He was my role model growing up in Ts’enola and this is why after he passed on, I decided to quit the number ten (10) jersey that I wore during my time at Matlama and took his favourite number seven (7), which he used to wear at both club level and the national team,” he said.