National team goalkeeper, Kananelo Makhooane, has made a big decision on his career, leaving Likhopo for premier league champions Lioli.
It had been clear for years that Makhooane was unhappy at Likhopo as he squabbled with management on several occasions.
But, of course, his decision to join Lioli has raised eyebrows because Tse Nala already have two of the best goalkeepers in the country in Liteboho Mokhehle and Mohau Kuenane.
Kuenane has since reclaimed his position in the national team, Likuena, and was between the sticks in Lesotho’s most recent matches against Ethiopia and Botswana.
The long-serving keeper had been dropped from Likuena after struggling for game-time at Lioli. His then understudy, Mokhehle, had been made the first-choice last season as Tse Nala went on to win the league title.
An injury towards the end of last season did not help his cause, and the keeper missed out on selection for the COSAFA tournament held in South Africa in May. However, the national team’s poor performance at the regional showcase saw Kuenane being recalled to Likuena and the keeper has been very solid ever since.
But Mokhehle’s solid performance saw him win the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League goalkeeper-of-the-season award and this, by itself, says it all—that Lioli coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, is going to have a headache in this department.
There have been rumours that Kuenane wants out of Lioli, which could be a solution to the problem because one way or the other, two of the three goalkeepers will not see a lot of action this season.
Lioli have since denied that Kuenane will leave the team, which makes sense because he is the most experienced among the three and Tse Nala are, without doubt, going to need him as they compete in the African Champions League in 2016.
The other obstacle for the goalkeepers is that all three of them made the Likuena squad in recent years with Kuenane and Makhooane once again in the current team and likely to be selected for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria.
I don’t doubt Makhooane’s capability because when you talk of talented goalkeepers, he certainly is among the best four goalkeepers we have in this country.
But while he has proved his talent and come through the ranks with different national youth teams, some coaches have expressed concern over his short height.
There is a saying that to be the best, you need to compete with the best, but I think it’s going to be very difficult in the case of these three keepers because one of them might not play regularly.
My interest, and of course many other football lovers, will be to see how Mokhothu is going to deal with this problem.
Maybe a rotational system might be the way to go, but it will surely hurt the players’ chances with the national team because Likuena coach, Seephephe Matete, would want to have a first-choice goalkeeper who plays week-in-and-week-out.