LIKUENA coach Thabo Senong has reshuffled his team in preparation for the do or die return leg of the CHAN qualifiers against Zimbabwe on 18 October 2019.
Senong’s charges lost the first leg 3-1 in Harare last month. To qualify, Likuena must win by a two-goal margin.
The latest to be chopped are Bantu’s Tšoanelo Koetle and Neo Mokhachane.
Mokhachane has however, been re-called along with LMPS goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane and Tšeliso Botsane to replace Tšepo Toloane and Makara Ntaitsane who are all injured.
The other new players in the squad are Bantu midfielder Litšepe Marabe, LCS defender Kopano Tseka and Liphakoe midfielder Mohau Rammoneng.
Senong told the Lesotho Times that the changes were influenced by the need to build a winning team. He said to come up with a winning team, he needed to first win the dressing room hence players have also been dropped based on their character and discipline.
“Players’ exclusion is based on the new systems that we want to play but we also look at their readiness and their discipline,” Senong said.
“When you want to build a winning team, you must start winning the dressing room. We need harmony, an excellent team spirit and chemistry. This is why we have excluded other players.
“We are still going to exclude more but criteria will always differ. We don’t only look at the potential but we also look at the character of the player we are bringing compared to that of the one getting the chop. However, the door will always be open for every player as long as we are convinced that he will give us what we need in terms of their performance and discipline.
“After the Zimbabwe loss, we realised that our team still had challenges in defence and attack while the midfield lacked creativity. This is why we have opted to drop some players while calling others whom we think can give us what we lacked.”
Senong said he still believes that his charges can still make a comeback and beat Zimbabwe. He however, admitted that it will take courage to achieve that.
“The game is not over yet. The away goal will surely come in handy for us in the return leg. We will approach the game with hope that we can win it without conceding. We know that it is going to take lot of work and we are also racing against time as we only have two weeks to prepare.
“There are also AFCON qualifiers on the way, so we have been trying to come up with a system that can help us against Zimbabwe and also against Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the AFCON qualifiers.”
He said they are also trying to organise a friendly match before the Zimbabwe tie to see how far they have gone with their preparations.
“The office is working on that and hopefully we can get a strong team to play before we play Zimbabwe. This will help us gauging how far we are and also help our players gain confidence,” Senong concluded.