The national football team leaves for Mbabane today for two friendly matches against their Swazi counterparts.
The friendlies take place on Saturday and Sunday and are part of Likuena’s preparations for their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against the Seychelles to be held on 25 and 29 March away and at home respectively.
Likuena coach, Moses Maliehe, told the Lesotho Times he was leaving no stone unturned in his effort to ensure the team qualifies for the Afcon tournament.
Although Lesotho have already lost their opening Group J qualifiers away to Ethiopia and at home against leaders Algeria, Maliehe believes the team could still qualify for the continental showcase to be held in Gabon as one of the two best runners-up. Lesotho are bottom of their group, while Algeria are top on six points after winning both their fixtures, Ethiopia are second on four after one win and one draw and Seychelles are third with one draw and one loss.
“The two friendlies against Swaziland give us a chance to test our combination against another national team before we take on Seychelles,” Maliehe said.
“We want to make sure every member of the squad gets a chance to show what they can do and also ensure there is a better understanding between the players.
“I already have an idea of what the team should look like, but it is important that we put that to practice before the crucial ties against the Seychelles.”
Maliehe further said all his players are in good shape save for Tšoanelo Koetle, who is carrying a slight knock.
“We leave the country with all players in good shape apart from Koetle who has a minor injury that is being attended to by the team’s doctor,” he said.
Maliehe also said the team would link-up with America-based Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho in South Africa on Thursday.
“We will be linking up with Tšotleho in South Africa on our way to Swaziland. We will not be coming back home after the Swaziland friendlies but go straight to the Seychelles from there,” added Maliehe.
“Like I said, the matches against Seychelles will be very important as there is still a chance for us to make it to the continental competition.”
Asked about his new-look Likuena which has raised eyebrows, Maliehe said: “The door is not totally closed for those who were part of the team before I came in (late last year). Maybe I will go for experience for matches against Ethiopia and Algeria.”
Likuena to face Seychelles
Goalkeepers: Daniel Jousse (LCS) Liteboho Mokhehle (Lioli.
Defenders: Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepe, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo (All Lioli), Nkesi Rankhasa (Matlama) Spiriting Malefane (Bantu)
Midfielders: Jerry Kamela, Tšoanelo Koetle (both Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Kefuoe Mahula, Jane Thabantšo (both Matlama), Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho (Richmond Kicker, US).
Strikers: Motlalepula Chabeli, Thabiso Brown (both Kick4Life, Lehlomela Ramabele (Likhopo), Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli).