Senior National men’s soccer team coach Vaselin Jelusic says his charges are ready for the challenge of the two-games African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group Stages Qualifier intensive action against tournament host nation Ivory Coast and Comoros Islands starting today.
Likuena will firstly face the island nation away this afternoon
at the Stade Omnisports de Malouzini (Moroni) in the Group H opener, before hosting Ivory Coast next week Thursday (June 09, 2022) at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto due to the unavailability of the Setsoto national stadium.
Jelusic’s boys come into today’s encounter with boosted morale after a two-encounter practice international friendlies double-clash against Namibia and Ethiopia in which it lost none.
In the first encounter played against Namibia played at Wits Stadium in Johannesburg South Africa, Likuena defeated the visitors by 2-1, three days before playing to a 1-all stalemate away against Ethiopia.
Speaking of the second encounter, the Serbian tactician admitted that Ethiopia was the better side throughout the match, but was happy with the performance of his team.
“Yes, I’m satisfied with the outcome of the match. It’s a new experience for the new faces in the team and it was important for them to get this international experience. It is our goal to give them the exposure in these warm-up matches to prepare them for the future and help us in the progress of our team. They fought to the end.
“Now, we shift our focus to the two very crucial matches against Comoros and Ivory Coast. We know that Comoros can be threatening so we will not undermine them but will also not give them the authority to boss us,” Jelusic said.
One of the players to look out for going into the games is 24-year-old goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane, who made a number of outstanding saves to keep his team in the game as Lesotho remains unbeaten in the four games played under Jelusic since he took over the reigns as coach of the team earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Likuena striker Katleho Makateng was discharged from hospital having suffered a severe concussion in the opening minutes of the match against Namibia.
The match had to be halted for over 30 minutes as the player received medical attention and was eventually admitted at the Netcare Milpark Hospital where he was treated as an outpatient.