MASERU – The Lesotho senior national team, Likuena’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying home fixture against Sierra Leone which was initially scheduled for March 22 has been postponed to March 27. Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Media Officer, Mikia Kalati, confirmed the postponement to Public Eye on Tuesday.
Kalati indicated, however, that the deferment has been effected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Reasons for the postponement were yet to be known.
“It is like the initial date of March 22 has been rescheduled to March 27 and they (LeFA officials) have been communicating with CAF about that,” said Kalati in an interview.
“But March 27 seems to be the sure date for the match between Likuena and Sierra Leone.” Likuena lost 1-0 to the GladAfrica Championship side, Free State Stars, in a friendly game in Free State last Friday, and Kalati said the boys will probably play another friendly game before the rescheduled AFCON fixture.
He also confirmed rumours that the Lesotho national team’s next friendly game is likely to be against the DSTV Premiership side Orlando Pirates this weekend.
“Yes, that was the plan and they (Pirates) have agreed. It was just that the South African teams are busy with their fixtures, but it will be clear this week to when such game could take place,” Kalati said.
Likuena also face Nigeria in another AFCON qualifier match away from home three days after the Sierra Leone tie, with Likuena coach Thabo Senong yet to announce his final team for the two qualifiers.
Injuries to some of ‘The Crocodiles’ players have, however, posed a great worry to the technical team ahead of these two matches. One of the injury-carrying players is South African Bloemfontein Celtic striker, Motebang Sera.
It is also reported that Senong is also frustrated by the fact that Tumelo Khutlang has not been getting game time with the DSTV Premiership side Black Leopards. Another blow for Likuena ahead of the Sierra Leone match is the passing on of the mother of their player Tšotleho Jane.
Likuena need a miracle to qualify for the AFCON Tournament after failing to register even a single victory in their four previous matches of the group stage.
In their last match of the qualifiers, Likuena were held to a goalless draw by Benin at home on November 17 last year, following a 1-0 loss to the same Benin team away on November 14.
Likuena were beaten 4-2 by Nigeria in front of home supporters at Setsoto Stadium on November 17, 2019, after they were held Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw away from home in the opening fixture of the Group L qualifiers on November 13, 2019.
The Lesotho team is sitting at bottom of the Group L, having just collected two points from four matches, with Sierra Leone on third position with three points.
Nigeria and Benin are top the group with eight and seven points respectively. Likuena will play the two AFCON remaining matches with most of their players lacking match fitness after sports activities were banned in Lesotho since January this year due to the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.