Monday, May 20, 2024
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Still no win for Senong


Chris Theko

On Saturday Lesotho suffered a second loss in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers when they lost 0-1 to Benin. 

Lesotho is in Group L alongside Nigeria, Sierra Leon and Benin.  The Saturday loss left a dent on the side’s chances of qualification to Cameroon next year. 

The coach Thabo Senong side was playing well defensively for the most part of the first half but considered a goal (in the 29th minute).

The whole team could not string two passes together and lack of match fitness was evident from the first minute.  This was Likuena’s first competitive match since the 2-4 defeat in the hands of Nigeria in November 2019.     

The Sat match, first in a two-leg clash, went into the half time break with the scoreline at 1-0 in favour of the home side Benin.  In the second half, Lesotho seemed to be more on the attack mode, creating a number of chances but no clinical conversion of opportunities. 

The second half lacked entertaining parts and no goals were scored as the match ended with score line remaining the same.  

Likuena has never qualified for Confederations of African Football (CAF) tournaments and in order to turn their fortunes around they had to beat Benin when the two teams locked horns at Setsoto Stadium in the return leg encounter on Tuesday. 

However, it was not to be on Tuesday when Lesotho hosted Benin in a match with no spectators due to the Covid-19 regulations and some local media were denied entry.  The match was in an interesting turn of events televised on the national broadcaster. 

The tie ended in a 0-0 score margin much to the disappointment of multitudes of Basotho who were watching from home.

The result means head coach Thabo Senong is still without a win since joining the side in September last year.  He has overseen the club in four competitive matches, lost two and drew two. 

The Likuena mentor said he was worried that his players would not be able to handle the pressure as they were playing their first competitive match in over seven months since the Covid-19 outbreak. 

“Other countries have been continuing with their leagues especially in Europe where most of the Benin players are based while our players have been inactive since the league was suspended.  The domestic league is only scheduled to return in the first week of December,” Senong said.

He continued to say that the conceded goal in Benin was a mistake hence he warned his players going forward that playing against big teams such as Benin they will always capitalized on mistakes. 

“The set up tactically was a bit of a surprise but I like the way we responded very quickly and we may have made one mistake and Benin caught us.  In the second half we tried everything, we brought in fresh legs, we tried to push numbers but unfortunately it didn’t happen but I’m still proud of the team,” he said. 

Lesotho remain at the bottom of Group L after four games played with no win and two points while Nigeria leads the group with eight points from four games, Benin is in second position with seven points from four games and Sierra Leone is in third position with three points.  fffffffffffffff

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