Fresh start for Likuena

MASERU — Lesotho national team coach Leslie Notši this week selected a provisional 42-man team as the search for the next squad began in earnest.
The preliminary national team began training at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena on Monday.
Notsi is being assisted by Lehlohonolo Thotanyana.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Notši spoke of the excitement among the team as a new era beckons.
“It has made me happy and encouraged. Everybody is looking hungry, it’s going to make my job much easier,” he said.
The preliminary squad is entirely made up of locally based players and will be in training for the next six weeks.
Notši said he will trim the squad after four weeks following a couple of friendly games against some local teams.
The Likuena mentor said he would like to have a goalkeeper coach, physiotherapist, a fitness trainer and a kit-man working in the set-up as well.
He noted that the emphasis would be on building on the potential of the current Makoanyane XI squad.
“We are looking at fusing youth with experience, with the talented crop of players who became Lesotho’s first team to qualify for the 2005 African Youth Championship in Benin, getting a chance as well.
“The big thing is to look at the pool of players and see if they can fit into our plans for the team,” Notši said.
“I have tried to pick some of the players who were in the Under-20 from Benin. Players who have performed well in the league are also in the squad.”
The training camp is in preparation for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers which start in November.
The draw for those World Cup qualifiers will be done in Brazil at the end of the month.
Notši said that all players could not be at training because some were to attend trials while foreign players will be called up in later camps.
“The more we have players playing outside of Lesotho the better it is for us,” he said.
Several international friendly games were being sourced by the Likuena management headed by team manager, Khiba Mohoanyane.
Notši expressed the need for a concerted effort in order for Likuena to have a successful comeback.
“November is a very crucial stage and we must be prepared both inside and outside of the field,” Notši said.
“The programme of the Under-20 gave me great knowledge; qualifying and international football is not a matter of just showing up for a game.
“All the stakeholders have to play their part, that’s when our opportunities will increase,” Notši said.
The coach led the national Under-20 side to the Caf African Youth Championship in April.
Lesotho’s national senior team has not played a match since September 2009 and in that time has fallen to a world ranking of 178.

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