Malawi Rugby National Team, Leopards, should brace for a fierce test match against their Lesotho counterparts in Blantyre on August 27.
Lesotho have named a strong squad, including South Africa-based teenage sensation, Sechaba Mokhele.
The two teams will meet for the first time and Lesotho coach, Roy Zhou, has told Lesotho’s Post newspaper that winning in Malawi was a must.
“We are going to Malawi with the aim to win and gain recognition. We want to beat Malawi in their own backyard,” Zhou is quoted as saying.
“We are going to use the same squad that went to Rwanda and maybe add two or three more new players, but it is still the same team.”
Lesotho, who are affectionately called Likatola, are in form having finished third during their maiden appearance at May’s Africa Cup Division Two Championship in Rwanda.
Lesotho were pitted against Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the tournament.
Despite arriving late and missing their semifinal against DRC, Likatola defeated Burundi in a third-place play-off, according to the Post.
“I am happy with the performance in Rwanda, the team played well but we want to improve our attack and score more points. It is one of the things we are focusing and working on improving. We want to win our games by scoring more points,” Zhou added
He also praised his squad, including the 17-year-old, Mokhele, who is the youngest member in the squad. The oldest player in the Lesotho team is 38-year-old [Mokhele] Litšitso Motšeremeli.
“He is still in high school. He is a very talented and experienced player, he plays in South Africa. Look at our captain (Samuel Takama), he is 19 years and talented. I do play with young players,” Zhou said.
Malawi team has since started training at the College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre.
In a statement, Rugby Football Union of Malawi (Rfum) said the hosting of Lesotho follows the re-admission of Malawi into the continental rugby family.
“This follows the setting up of successful rugby development programme such as Get Into Rugby, that is targeted at local schools and the Malawi National Rugby Championship which was inaugurated in 2014,” he said.
“Following the admission of Malawi into Rugby Africa in December 2014, we have been placed in category E of rugby test competing nations, which includes Lesotho and Swaziland. Lesotho have confirmed their participation.”
Malawi rugby is growing with an increase of teams to 10 this year, up from four last year. An estimated 500 players play competitive rugby in Malawi.
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