Likoena will play qualifers in SA

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

With the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru being renovated for the 2010 World Cup, Likoena of Lesotho will play their qualifiers in South Africa.

The South African Football Association executive committee has accepted a request from the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) to play their games in the Free State.

Lesotho will play their home games at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium against Ghana (June 7/8), Libya (June 14/15) and Gabon (September 6/7).

Setsoto is the only soccer facility in Lesotho, hence pressure is mounting on the Lesotho government to build another big stadium.

The government of Lesotho are upgrading Setsoto with the hope of attracting at least one country to set up their training camp in Maseru for the 2010 World Cup.

The request by Lesotho also falls in line with a pledge by the South African government to make the the 2010 World Cup an African tournament.

Molefi Oliphant, Safa president, said the logistics of the games would be discussed at a joint liaison committee meeting soon.

"The Lesotho Football Association requested to play their home games in South Africa. The executive discussed the matter on Friday and resolved to accept it.

"There is nothing new about such a move where a country hosts a game on foreign soil. Lesotho are our brothers, we have to help them where possible.

"We are working closely with Lesotho to ensure that all the three matches to be played in South Africa are a success in terms of logistics and regulations of CAF and Fifa.

"You will recall that Bafana Bafana were forced to play the 1998 World Cup qualifier against Congo in Togo because of uprisings in Brazzaville."

Mafole Sematlane, chief executive of Lefa, said: "Setsoto Stadium is undergoing major upgrades and we thank Safa for agreeing to host our matches.

"South Africa is home away from home."