Lesotho’s coach Maliehe Moses critisised the referee’s perfomance after his side narrowly lost out to the Brave Warriors in their international friendly match played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Namibia won the match 2-1. Moses praised the home side’s resilence to catch up and win the game, but blamed the referee for the loss describing him as ‘pathetic’.
The match referee was Jackson Pavaza from Namibia.
“I’m not one who would complain about the referees, but the referee tonight was pathetic. In the second goal, he called my player and the opponents just started and scored. He is supposed to be fair and act like a professional. But I’m not complaining about that. We played a good team. Namibia has a good team,” conceeded Moses.
He continued: “It was an interesting game. In the first half we had ball possession and we took the lead. In second half, they came back fighting and they scored the first and second goal.”
The Lesotho gaffer said the game was of utmost importance in preparation for their clash against Cape Verde in September. He said it was important to play a powerful Namibian side which recently came from the CHAN tournament.
A combination of youngsters and senior players took on the enterprising Lesotho team code named ‘crocodiles’. The home side took charge of the pressure button in the first minutes of the game with Benson Shilongo and Deon Hotto coming close to Lesotho’s goal guard Samuel Khetshekile.
Lesotho slowly made its way into the game with some tactical play in the midfield that had the Namibians on the backfoot.
With the pressure mounting on the Namibian defense, it was not long before Sera Motebang capitalized on the home side’s questionable defending when he lobbed Namibian goalkeeper Maximillian Mbaeva to put the crocodiles in the lead.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Brave Warriors outfit pulling the strings in search of an equaliser. They first came close to breaking Khetshekile’s clean sheet when Jomo Cosmos’ Denzil Hoebeb’s header narrowly missed the target.
Shilongo, who plays for Egyptian side Alssiouty SC also tried to trouble the Lesotho second-choice goalie with a shot from a long distance. That hardly troubled Khetshekile.
Eventually the Namibians got their breakthrough after Tigers’ Absalom Imbondi’s corner was headed home by Vitapi Ngaruka.
From that point onwards Lesotho was on the ropes and sustained severe pressure. Itamunua Keimuine also tested Khetshekile gloves but the goalkeeper was up to the task.
Namibia took the lead 10 minutes before the match ended when Benson Shilongo slotted the ball home.
Both sides made several changes to the playing personnel in the friendly match as they both prepare for COSAFA 2017 to be held in South Africa from 27 May to 07 June and the resumption of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers in September.
Assistant Brave Warriors coach Ronnie Kanalelo stood in for coach Ricardo Manetti who was absent due to passing of his mother in-law.
“We started off very slowly and we went one goal down by half time.
We added a few young boys to the team and the movement was great.
The only problem we had was the execution. So second half we made a few changes and the goals came,” said Kanalelo.
He said the decision to give younger players chance in the senior team was meant to groom them for the future.
“There is always a start and this is a start for them as we look into the future.
Gradually we want to bring in young players and introduce them to international football,” he said.