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Blow for Likuena

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Leemisa Thuseho

LIKUENA has been dealt a body blow after the United States-based defender, Lesia Thetsane, pulled out of the team which is preparing for the upcoming two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The Thabo Senong coached side is still hoping to make its debut appearance at the AFCON finals when they take on the Leone Stars and the Super Eagles in two must win matches.

Likuena takes on Sierra Leone at Setsoto Stadium on 22 March 2021 and will conclude their Group L campaign against Nigeria in Lagos on the 30 March.

Thetsane was named in the provisional squad last month but Lesotho Times has learnt that the left footed versatile defender will not be able to fulfill his trip due to personal commitments.

Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Media Officer Mikia Kalati yesterday confirmed that Thetsane will not be part of the team.

Kalati, who was reluctant to get into details, said Thetsane’s absence was due to personal issues related to his stay in the United States after graduating from the Columbia University early this year.

“Thetsane will not be part of the team due to some personal issues,” Kalati said.

Thetsane was last month named along with Bolivia and Libya-based strikers Thabiso Brown and Nkoto Masoabi respectively.

Thetsane is becoming the second player to be ruled out of the team after LMPS sticker Tšepo Seturumane was dropped after failing to show up for camp.

The other foreign based players in the squad are Tumelo Khutlang, Motebang Sera, Tswarelo Bereng and Luciano Matsoso who are all based in neighbouring South Africa.

Kalati said all the other foreign-based players’ availability has been confirmed. He however, said they would join the rest of the team later as they are still busy with their clubs’ commitments.

“The foreign based players are expected to join the rest of the team in the last week of the preparations because their leagues are still active,” Kalati said.

Likuena has been in camp since last month and Kalati said the preparations are going on well. He also said there were no Civid-19 scares as all the players have so far tested negative.

“The camp is going on well… The coach has also reported that the players are improving in terms of fitness by the day.”

Meanwhile Likuena will beef up their AFCON preparations by playing some friendlies against Free State Stars in Bethlehem and Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“From now until the FIFA break, we cannot afford to play any international friendlies, so our coaches asked for friendlies against South African teams. On Wednesday (yesterday) Likuena will play Free State Stars in Bethlehem. On 18 March the side will play Orlando Pirates. The coach is still awaiting confirmations from onother DStv Premiership team,” Kalati said.

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