By: Sekonyela Qaitsane

Maseru – They might still be in it mathematically, but as things stand, it will take nothing short of magic for Leslie Nots’i-led Likuena to make it to the quarterfinals of the ongoing Cosafa tournament in South Africa.

Many believe Likuena made life difficult for themselves in the tournament opener, where they conceded late and squandered a 1-goal lead against the Seychelles on Friday, a game they should have possibly won given the vulnerability of their opponent on the day.

Following the 2-1 loss to Namibia on Monday, Likuena find themselves in a rather awkward situation; they are at the they are at the bottom of the group, led by Namibia and Angola, who are both on four points apiece.

With only one game left to try and salvage a spot in the quarterfinals, last year’s runners-up must win their next game against Angola on Friday and hope Namibia loses to the Seychelles, who are as desperate. 

Speaking after their loss to Namibia on Monday, Likuena gaffer Leslie Nots’i rued missed chances while also admitting that the game was difficult “as expected” and that it was highly contested. 

“Our opponent was very physical today, as you can see by the number of fouls they committed. It shows that they really wanted to stop us at whatever cost. 

The pitch was also a bit unplayable and did not give us a chance to play as we would have liked,” he said.

He went on to express his disappointment in the result, stating that Neo Makhachane’s equalizer early in the second half gave them hope that they could get something out of the game until they conceded Namibia’s second and winning goal.

Due to the physicality of the game, Likuena were dealt a heavy blow on the 27th minute of the first half when Lesotho’s most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer, Jane Thabants’o, left the pitch on a stretcher with an injury after being kicked on the shin.

Thabants’o scored in Lesotho’s opener against the Seychelles and has proven to be an important player in the squad. He’s now the joint top goalscorer for Lesotho in the Cosafa tournament, with seven goals to his name.