LIKUENA’S preparations for the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde on 19 March 2019 have been handed a major boost with the return to full fitness of Black Leopards duo of Tswarelo Bereng and Tumelo Khutlang.
The two players were named in Lidoda Duvha’s Sunday goalless draw with Highlands Park at Thohoyandou Stadium.
Likuena coach Moses Maliehe said he has been in contact with Leopards coach Dylan Kerr over his three player plying their trade with the Limpopo outfit.
Bereng played the whole 90 minutes while Khutlang was unused substitute.
“The two players are back from a spell on the sidelines with injuries,” Maliehe told this publication.
“I was talking to their coach last Friday and he told me that Khutlang was struggling with a groin and a knee injury but he is now back to full fitness.
“Bereng also had an injury and missed a few games. He returned to the starting line-up over the weekend and it’s good for us as the national team.”
He said the local based players will be in camp this week at Bambatha Tšita Arena as they continue the Cape Verde tie.
Maliehe also revealed that apart from their four South Africa based players namley Khutlang, Bereng, Luciano Matsoso and Nkoto Masoabi, they will also be joined by American based duo of Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho and Lesisa Thetsane.
“We have continued our preparations where one week we are in camp together with the players then the following week they train in the morning coming from their homes.
“Tšotleho and Thetsane will also be joining us in camp at a later stage along with our South African contingent.
“We also have Rethabile Selonyane of Linare who has been doing well for his team. He has shown a lot of potential and we have been monitoring him.
“Like I have said before, playing for Likuena comes with a lot of pressure and we have to ensure that the player is ready for that stage when he joins us.
“It took Selonyane long to get going at his club establishing himself as their top marksman but he is a good player and I used to communicate a lot with Ntate Teele Ntšonyana during his time in charge of Linare.
“He is ready for this challenge hence we called him and he has not disappointed. He works very hard on his game,” Maliehe said.
Maliehe were underway to have a camp outside the country before they leave for Cape Verde as the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) has pledged to support them by postponing the matches scheduled for the week leading to the qualifier.
“Luckily the PLMC has agreed to suspend all the games in the weekend leading to our game and that gives us a chance to be in camp a week before the match at a High Performance Centre in either Pretoria or Potchefstroom in South Africa.
“The plans are at advance stage and we will be going straight to Cape Verde after a weeklong camp at the high performance centre.
“This is an important game that is why our preparations have to be of high level so that we get the results we want to qualify for the tournament in Egypt.
“We have met the players one-on-one, just to ensure that they also understand the importance of this game, not only to their country to themselves as well. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change their lives for good.
“We have to do everything in our power to win this game,” Maliehe said.
Likuena’s preliminary squad
Goalkeepers: Sam Ketsekile (LCS), Tankiso Chaba (Liphakoe), Monaheng Ramalefane (Matlama).
Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi, Basia Makepe (both LMPS), Kopano Tseka, Mafa Moremoholo (both Lioli), Lesia Thetsane (Columbia College-USA), Thabo Sefuli (Real Kings).
Midfielders: Sepiriti Malefane, Setho Moshoeshoe (Both LCS), Tshwarelo Bereng, Tumelo Khutlang, Luciano Matsoso (all Black Leopards, Kefuoe Mahula, Jane Thabantšo (both Matlama) Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Jane Tšotleho (Louisville City-USA).
Forwards: Roboama Koloti (LMPS), Nkoto Masoabi (Real Kings), Thapelo Tale LCS), Rethabile Selonyane (Linare).