Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lesotho’s Cosafa Cup fairytale comes to an end

Lesotho’s run at the Cosafa Cup has come to an end after yesterday’s 2-1 semi-final defeat to Zimbabwe. It was a match Lesotho could have won, but a sleepy ten minute spell in the first half cost Likuena.

End of the road for Likuena...
In the end Lesotho will have to settle for a third-place playoff against South Africa on Saturday.

The game against Bafana, at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, will kick-off at 13:00 as a curtain-raiser to the final between hosts Zambia and defending champions Zimbabwe.

It has been a tournament of pleasing improvements for Lesotho. Certainly, Leslie Notši’s team has shown greater attacking intent and maturity. However, the defence has looked shaky throughout and this was Lesotho’s downfall against Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s first goal in particular was too easy. Warriors striker Tendai Ndoro was allowed to easily receive the ball in the box from a long-throw before he effortlessly turned his marker and fired past Kholuoe Phasumane. Those are the sort of goals which take the wind out of the sails and give confidence to the opposition.

Ten minutes later Zimbabwe right-back Eric Chipeta was afforded time and space to get a cross in; the defence failed to deal with it and Ndoro was quickest to react, nipping in front of Nkau Lerotholi to slot home.

Lesotho had taken the lead in the fourth minute after good build-up play ended with Motlalepula Mofolo tapping in Thapelo Tale’s well-placed cross. Likuena showed confidence and were on top for the opening ten minutes. But perhaps overconfidence crept in. Too many passes were misplaced and that allowed Zimbabwe possession and a way back into the game when Lesotho could have grabbed it by its horns.

Zimbabwe were also physically far superior and this is another area for improvement for Lesotho. The Warriors were faster and, in close quarters, repeatedly out-muscled Lesotho which flustered Likuena.

With Zimbabwe not playing particularly well themselves the upshot was a game devoid of quality and rhythm. This is why Lesotho was unable to build any sustained pressure when pressing for an equaliser in the second half.

As stated, there were positives for Lesotho. The return of playmaker Bushy Moletsane greatly improved the team’s creativity. The result has been nine goals in five games when Lesotho hadn’t scored in three previous games.

Upfront Tale has added greater bite to Lesotho’s attack with his pace and excellent work-rate. Wingers Katleho Moleko and Litsepe Marabe also showed invention in spurts while Lioli youngster Tšepo Seturumane, in his brief cameos, proved he is indeed one for the future.

Goodbye Cosafa!
Jeremia Kamela (left), Basia Makepe and Lehlomela Ramabele
However, after playing four games in a week, Notši said fatigue had finally caught up with Likuena.

“It was a lapse of concentration and fatigue that saw us lose,” Notši said. “After we conceded the equaliser we lost composure but in the second half we really put on a good show and I am proud of my boys.”

Win or lose against South Africa, Likuena will return home on Sunday with the nation hoping they can build on their promising 2013 Cosafa Cup showing.


Lesotho (4-2-3-1): Kholuoe Phasumane – Thabo Masualle, Moitheri Ntobo, Nkau Lerotholi, Jeremia Kamela – Ralekoti Mokhahlane, Motlalepula Mofolo (Tšoanelo Koetle 48’) – Katleho Moleko,  Bushy Moletsane (Mabuti Potloane 74’), Litsepe Marabe ( Lehlomela Ramabele 38’) – Thapelo Tale

Zimbabwe: M. Nyamupanedengu, E. Chipeta, O. Mushure, P. Matizanadzo, F. Chindungwe, D. Chafa, R. Chitiyo (L. Chibwiro 71’), M. Mambare, T. Ndoro, C. Sibanda, S. Songani (N. Alifandika 58’)

No comments:

Post a Comment