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Likuena raised AFCON hopes


Nov. 22, 2018 3 min read

3 min read


MASERU - Nkau Lerotholi's second half header which separated the winner from the loser, kept the AFCON hopes burning and spoiled the party for Tanzania which was the hopeful before the match. The single goal of the match revived Lesotho's senior soccer side Likuena chances of a historic qualification to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Tanzania's Taifa Stars.

The clinical header which he converted from a corner kick late in the second half in a game played at Setsoto stadium on Sunday has catapulted Likuena to a joint second position of the Group L after Uganda. Just like Basotho nation's Commander in Chief Moshoeshoe I, who is renowned for leading his warriors to defeat his enemies, Lerotholi who is a direct descended of Moshoeshoe the Great, fought gallantly but this time on the field of play to lead Likuena to a victory that could see the boys from the Mountain Kingdom qualify for the AFCON finals if they finish on second in March next year.
 


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The only last hurdle is for Mr. Moses Maliehe's troops to show similar fighting spirit to beat Cape Verde's Blue Sharks in March 22 next year to ensure that Likuena reaches the AFCON finals for the first time ever in the history of Lesotho football. Likuena should have won by a bigger margin had South Africa based Tumelo 'Makhopo' Khutlang as well as second half substitute Sera Motebang not left their scoring boots home after they missed clear cut chances in the first and second half respectively. For Makhopo, after out pacing Taifa Stars defence to catch a back pass to the opponents goalkeeper, he fluffed what looked like the easiest chance to break the ice as his tame shot could not beat the upright and rebounded to him and missed the second chance for the relief of Tanzania's goal minder who was left stranded.


As if that was not enough the Matlama lanky striker Sera who had come on in the second half after replacing Thapelo Tale who had sustained an injury and limped off the field, instead of laying the ball to on rushing Khutlang following his darting runs on the left hand side, Sera opted to be selfish and took a shot from an acute angle and missed. The decision seemed not to sit well with Khutlang even after the game as the two strikers had to be separated by the players and technical team after the final whistle as they confronted each other.


However, the Likuena victory graced by the presence of Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Monyane Moleleki and Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Dr. Mahali Phamotse, left Basotho who witnessed the game in a celebratory mood as they ululated and danced after the final whistle. Likuena's goalminder Samuel Ketsekile also did his work after denying the visiting Taifa Stars on two occasions from long range set pieces as he fisted the shots on either half for corner kicks to keep a clean sheet. Mr. Emmanuel Amunike's led Taifa Star's fell on the ground some of them hiding their faces as they showed remorse and humiliation for the defeat as they had anticipated to at least get a draw which would boost their chances of qualifying for the AFCON finals in Cameroon next year. It now means that Tanzania have to beat Uganda at home in March and hope that Likuena lose against Cape Verde in a corresponding fixture to qualify. Uganda, which has already booked their place at the AFCON finals, beat Cape Verde 1-0 at home and it will be just a formality for their short trip to Dar es Salaam in March for the final game while leaving Likuena, Taifa Stars and the Blue Sharks to battle it out for the second place.
Lena

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