THE senior national soccer team assistant coach, Mpitsa Marai, has bemoaned the unavailability of young players for selection saying it limits their choices.
Marai said this during a media briefing in Maseru yesterday. The briefing comes after Likuena’s return from Durban for the just ended COSAFA tournament.
Likuena were knocked out in the semifinals by Botswana after beating the tournament guests Uganda in the quarter finals.
Marai’s side went on succumb to a 5-4 loss at the hands of Zimbabwe on Friday in the third place play off and had to settle for fourth.
Likuena once again failed to reach the finals having last achieved the feat in 2000. The coaches, on the other hand, also failed to deliver their mandate as pronounced by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) prior to the tournament.
For the past four tournaments, Likuena has relatively used the same squad in the tournament and Marai says they have no other choice because young players rarely get the chance for selection at club level.
“We also want to pick young players in the team but it’s a challenge and I know our under-20 coach is still faced with the same problems,” Marai said.
“It starts from our clubs. If coaches are not fielding young players, then there is nowhere where we can get them. It is sad because even if we wanted to change this team the pool is limited.”
Marai said they are aware that they failed to reach the milestone set by LeFA but said the technical team will meet tomorrow and present a detailed report to the association.
“We are meeting on Friday as the technical team and will give LeFA a detailed report on the team’s performance. We know there was a mandate set and we have to give answers on why we failed to achieve it,” Marai said.
The former Likuena defender said he believes their charges performed well although they dropped from last year’s third place finish.
“I think we played well although results did not come in our favour. We struggled in the semifinal against Botswana especially in the first half but we turned things around in the second half and we played better,” Marai said.
He said now their focus has shifted to preparing the team which is going to play South Africa next month in the CHAN qualifiers.