By: Sekonyela Qaitsane

Maseru – Likuena and Bantu FC defender Thabo Mats’oele says the mood is very high in the Lesotho national team camp as they approach a mouthwatering encounter with their bitter rivals and neighbors, South Africa.

The clash, set for next Monday at a venue yet to be confirmed. This will be matchday 5 of 10 in the six-team Group C of the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualifiers. Lesotho’s rivals in the group are Benin, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Lesotho locked horns with Rwanda yesterday at Moses Mabidha Stadium in Durban (the match results came too late for publication as we had already gone for printing). Heading into the Rwanda clash, Likuena was number two after Benin, who beat Nigeria on Monday evening to leapfrog Lesotho from the top spot.

As of late yesterday, when the paper went into printing, Likuena were the only team undefeated in the group, having played draws against the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Benin before beating Zimbabwe by two goals to zero last Friday in Orlando Stadium, thanks to goals from Rethabile Rasethunts’a and Jane Thabants’o. They had scored three goals, conceding just once against Nigeria in a 1-all in Uyo towards the end of last year.

Speaking to the Informative Newspaper, Mats’oele reiterates the importance of remaining calm and taking the games as they come. He insists that they approach the SA game with respect but without fear.

“Our aim now is to win all our remaining games in the group and see what happens after. The Bafana Bafana game is no exception. We are going all out for a win. We understand that the game will not be easy, but we are up for the challenge. 

Yes, they have good quality, but we are not intimidated whatsoever. We also have quality, and most importantly, we work as a team. This has been our strength thus far. We will give them a run for their money,” he says.

Mats’oele, who is one of the senior players on the team, goes on to call upon Basotho to come out in numbers and rally behind their team. 

“I would like to urge Basotho from all corners to come in numbers in support. Their presence always gives us the boost we need. We promise them nothing but a win in this game. We will do everything in our power to grind results,” he continues.

Prior to matchday 4 (last night), South Africa was occupying the number four spot in the group standings, having managed to collect four points from three games. Recording one win, one loss, and a draw. They had managed to score three goals while conceding four.