KAMPALA. With an enviable 63 slots Fifa rankings gap advantage, Uganda Cranes go into today’s Afcon battle with Lesotho at Namboole as outright favourites.
Yet the Likuena (Crocodiles), have what it takes to spring a surprise. They have held both Tanzania and Cape Verde in their first two group matches. Lesotho coach Moses Maliehe will be banking on the attacking threat posed by forwards Sera Motebang, Masoabi Nkoto, Setho Moshoeshoe and Thapelo Tale who gave Cape Verde a torrid outing in their last game.
Maliehe will miss the services of Bokang Sello and Lesia Thetsane but in Mabuti Potloane, Tumelo Khutlang, Jane Thaba Ntso and Mafa Moremoholo they have reliable back up options. The Cosafa nation has never qualified for the Afcon final edition and have often withdrawn from Afcon qualifying campaigns.
That doesn’t take away the fact that they are an emerging soccer nation that is hard to breakdown and can be efficient in counterattacks situations. Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) custodian Lomani Mphuthi has offered the Crocodiles stability in defence in the last two matches with impeccable command which calls for extra sharpness from the Uganda Cranes attacking force led by Emma Okwi, Derrick Nsibambi and Farouk Miya.
Midfielders Tšepo Toloane and Tshwarelo Bereng are also expected to stretch Cranes midfield to the limits. Maliehe maintains that their gradual rise is as a result of many of their star players getting professional opportunities.
LESOTHO – LAST SIX MATCHES
24/03/18: Botswana 1 – 0 Lesotho
27/03/18: Namibia 2 – 1 Lesotho
02/06/18: Lesotho 1 – 0 Swaziland
06/06/18: Lesotho 0 – 0 Zimbabwe
08/06/18: Madagascar 0 – 1 Lesotho
09/09/18: Lesotho 1 – 1 Cape Verde Islands
Last meetings: Uganda and Lesotho
19/06/07: Lesotho 0 – 0 Uganda
02/09/06: Uganda 3 – 0 Lesotho
Goalkeepers: Likano Mphuthi, Sam
Ketsekile, Mohau Kuenane
Defenders: Kopano Tseka, Basia
Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi, Bokang Sello,
Mafa Moremoholo, Bokang Mothoana
Midfielders: Tsepo Toloane, Hlompho
Kalake, Luciano Matsoso, Mabuti
Potloane, Jane Thabantšo, Lepheane
Mofolo, Thetso Posholi, Tshwarelo
Bereng, Tumelo Khutlang
Forwards: Nkoto Masoabi, Thabang
Rabi, Motebang Sera