Likuena back at work

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likuenaMikia Kalati

National team coach, Seephephe Matete, has named a 20-member squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Algeria scheduled for 6 September at Setsoto Stadium.

Matete told the Lesotho Times this week that it was important for his players to be in prime shape if they are to beat Algeria’s Desert Foxes who are ranked Number One in Africa by the Confederation of African Football, hence the early camp which begins on Monday next week.

“Our next match is against one of the best teams on the continent and we have to make sure we are ready, which is why we need to begin preparations early,” Matete said.

“We also have injuries to key players, Bushy Moletsane and Mabuti Potloane, and have since advised their teams not to rush them back to action,” said Matete, adding he feared the midfielders might not be ready for the match against Algeria and the 2018 FIFA World Cup ties against Comoros in October.

Lesotho played their first AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia on 14 June this year, and narrowly lost 2-1 away in Addis Ababa.

However, after silencing their critics by eliminating Botswana from the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) last month, Likuena need to maintain the momentum with a solid performance against the Algerians.

Matete said of his team’s prospects and the injured midfield duo: “The good thing is we have a big pool of players and have added the LCS pair of goalkeeper Daniel Jousse and defender Poloko Mohale to the squad.

“We are going to have a busy schedule as we will also play Zimbabwe in the CHAN qualifier in October—the same month we play the Comoros.”

However, Matete said injuries to Moletsane and Potloane could force him to bring America-based Jane Tšotleho.

“We will assess the situation with the two injured midfielders and if they do not heal on time, we might bring Tšotleho for the matches against Algeria and Comoros,” he said.

Matete said his goal is to at least qualify for two of the three competitions and fancies his team’s chances against the Comoros as well as Zimbabwe.

Lesotho were drawn against the Comoros last Saturday in Round One of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the matches scheduled for the weekends of 3-4 and 10-11 October this year. After getting the better of Botswana courtesy of the away-goals rule, Likuena now meet Zimbabwe on the weekends of 16-18 and 23-25 October in the final CHAN qualifier.

“The target is to qualify for at least two of these competitions and we are very close in CHAN and must do all we can to get past Zimbabwe and qualify for the Rwanda edition of the tournament next year,” said Matete.

Likuena squad:

Goalkeepers: Mohau Kuenane (Lioli), Kananelo Makhoaoane (Likhopo), Daniel Joussse (LCS)

Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi (Matlama), Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu), Motiki Mohale (Lerotholi Polytechnic), Mafa Moremoholo (Lioli),  Jerry Kamele (Lioli) Poloko Mohale (LCS).

Midfielders: Bokang Mothoana (Likhopo), Thabiso Mohapi (Bantu), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama), Bushy Moletsane (Lioli), Jane Thabantšo (Matlama), Mabuti Potloane (Matlama).

Strikers: Thapelo Tale (Likhopo), Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Litšepe Marabe (Bantu), Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Thabiso Brown (Kick4Life).

 

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