04 June 2018 08:03
Lesotho has vowed to give South Africa’s Banyana Banyana a run for their money when the two countries clash in the first leg match of the final round of the qualifiers.
The two countries face off on Wednesday at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru, with the return four days in Bloemfontein.
Banyana Banyana have won all the previous matches between the two neighbouring countries and with the last encounter having come during the 2017 Women’s COSAFA Cup tournament in Zimbabwe. Desiree Ellis’s charges won the match 3-0 on their way to clinching the regional competition, where they beat the host country 2-1 in the final.
However, Lesotho captain Boitumelo Rabale, who plies her trade in South Africa, where she captains Bloemfontein Celtic, says ‘Mehalalitoe’ as they are nicknamed has grown in leaps and bounds over the last year to give Banyana Banyan a run their monies worth.
Rabale led Celtic ladies to back-to-back South Africa National Women’s Championship titles in 2016 and 2017 respectively beating high profile Banyana Banyana players such as Janine Van Wyk and Amanda Dlamini in the final.
“I think the gap between us and them (South Africa) has closed in recent years and we just have to be fearless going into that match,” Rabale said.
“This is a very big game for us and winning it can change women’s football for the better in Lesotho. I really feel that we have grown in leaps and bounds in recent years because our league here at home has also improved.
“You could see the last time we played them at the COSAFA Cup that the gap is closing between the two countries and we just have to play our own game to get the better of them on Wednesday.”
The Mehalalitoe star said it’s important for them to make the most of playing at home in the first leg encounter if they are to cause an upset against South Africa. She also admitted that it will be a good feeling for her to get a win over her Celtic teammates that are in the Banyana Banyana squad.
“We are playing at home in the first leg and I think it is very important that we make use of that home ground advantage because it is going to be very tough when we go to them for the second leg,” added the Lesotho captain.
“So I’m confident that we will rise to the occasion in both matches. There will be a lot at stake for us as a country and of course for me as an individual as I have my teammates from Celtic in the South African team. I have a good feeling that we will do well as long as we are fearless,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by teammate, Senate Letsie, who plays in the United States of America, saying she wants to make her country proud by beating South Africa.
Letsie has been on a study and soccer scholarship at Lewis and Clark Community College in the state of Illinois since 2017.
“This is a chance for us to write a new football history for women football in Lesotho,” Letsie said.
“We are ready for the challenge ahead of us and want to make our people proud by beating South Africa.The spirit is very high in our camp and we looking forward to the match,” concluded the USA-based player.
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Algeria vs Ethiopia
Cote d’Ivoire vs Mali
Gambia vs Nigeria
Congo vs Cameroon
Kenya vs Equatorial Guinea
Lesotho vs South Africa
Zambia vs Zimbabwe