|Jane Thaba-Ntšo will be key again for Lesotho|
Lesotho faces Malawi this evening at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek with the 2016 Cosafa Castle Cup quarterfinals beckoning.
Likuena are top of Group B with six points, ahead of opponents Malawi on goal difference. It means a win or draw will send Moses Maliehe’s side through to face South Africa in the quarters on Saturday. Malawi, on the other hand, has to win.
Today’s game will be Likuena’s first at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Lesotho played its first two group games – a 3-0 win over Mauritius on Sunday and Tuesday’s 2-0 success over Angola – at the Independence Stadium.
It remains to be seen how the change in venue will affect the team. Nevertheless, the Sam Nujoma Stadium has a better playing surface which may allow Likuena to play its passing game a bit better.
Malawi’s danger-man is South African based Frank Gabadinho Mhango. The Bidvest Wits bound striker scored a hat-trick for Ernest Mtawali’s side in their opening 3-0 win over Angola. Indeed, the combination of Mhango and Malawi captain Chiukepo Msowoya is the toughest attack Lesotho will face so far in the tournament and tonight will be the biggest test of Basia Makepe and Kopano Tseka’s defensive nous.
The onus will also be on midfielder Kefuoe Mahula to continue his fine form. Mahula has been excellent screening Lesotho’s defence and his distribution of the ball has also relieved pressure and started attacks.
Goal-scoring chances are unlikely to be as readily available as in the first two games and Likuena’s frontline has to be clinical.
Coach Maliehe has made one change to the team that beat Angola on Tuesday with Jeremea Kamela returning from injury to replace Sepiriti Malefane in defence. Kamela will start at leftback meaning Mafa Moremoholo will shift back to the right of defence. Hlompho Kalake and Tšepo Seturumane both start despite being injury doubts heading into today’s game.
This evening will be the third time Lesotho and Malawi meet at the COSAFA Castle Cup. The Flames have won the previous meetings, 2-1 in 2005 and 1-0 in 2008.
Likuena will be looking to rewrite that particular history this evening.
|Lesotho's opponent: The Flames|
Lesotho (4-5-1): Daniel Jousse – Mafa Moremoholo, Basia Makepe ©, Kopano Tseka, Jeremea Kamela – Kefuoe Mahula, Hlompho Kalake, Mabuti Potloane, Tumelo Khutlang, Jane Thaba-Ntšo – Tšepo Seturumane
Malawi (4-4-2): Charles Swini – Stanley Sanudi, Franci Mlimbika, Harry Nyirenda, Miracle Gabeya – Joseph Kamwendo, Rafick Namwera, Isaac Kaliati, Gerald Jnr Phiri – Chiukepo Msowoya ©, Gabadinho Mhango
Match news: Captain Basia Makepe, Tumelo Khutlang, Sepiriti Malefane and Thabo Seakhoa are all on yellow cards. They will miss the next game (if Likuena advance) if they are booked today against Malawi.
Referee: Hamada El Moussa Nampiandraza (Madagascar)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Thusi Siwela (South Africa)
Assistant Referee 2: Matheus Kanyanga (Namibia)
Previous COSAFA Castle Cup meetings:
(11-6-05) Lusaka: Lesotho 1-2 Malawi (Potse)
(20-7-08) Secunda: Lesotho 0-1 Malawi