Luciano relishing another national call-up

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Mikia Kalati

POLAND based, Luciano Matsoso says he is looking forward to making his fourth appearance for Likuena at the upcoming regional COSAFA Cup to be staged in South Africa.

Matsoso, who plays for Oska Przysucha in the Polish second division, said he was hopeful that Likuena would go all the way to the final and do the country proud.

The 24-year-old made his debut for Lesotho in the 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in November 2017.

He said he came as early as he could because he wants to make history with Lesotho at the regional competition.

Moses Maliehe’s side has been given a bye and will start the competition in the quarterfinals where they have been drawn against Swaziland.

“I am looking forward to the tournament because it will be my first time playing at that level with the national team,” Matsoso said.

“We have grown a lot as a team over the past few years and the motivation in camp is to go all the way and win it.”

The Moshoeshoe II born star who has never played club football in the Mountain Kingdom having lived his all childhood in South Africa, said it would be a dream come true for him to lift the regional tournament with Likuena.

“We believe that we can do it. All of us in the team want to help our country to become a force to be reckoned with in the region. We just have to work hard in our preparations because we have a good team.

“All we are thinking about is to win the tournament and it will be special for me if we can go all the way as it will be my first tournament,” the diminutive attacking midfielder said.

Matsoso is expected to be among three of Likuena players, who ply their trade outside the country in the squad for the COSAFA Cup.

Maliehe last week told the Lesotho Times that he also called up Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho and Tšoarelo Bereng, who play in South Africa and Cambodia respectively.

Added Matsoso: “It has always been my dream to play in this competition having only watched it on television in the past”.

“I now have a chance to play there and want to make it a memorable one. This is why I want to make the best of it and I hope Basotho will be behind the team because we can do better with their support.

“We know that Swaziland is a good team, but we are hungry for success.”

The regional tournament will start on 27 May, but Lesotho and all the countries given a bye will only get their campaign underway on June 1.

Zimbabwe are the defending champions having defeated Zambia in the final of the last year tournament also held in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Maliehe has kept his word after promising he would select an experienced squad for COSAFA.

However, Maliehe said he was disappointed that Cambodian Premier League side, Phnom Penh Crown, refused to release Tšotleho. The team reportedly indicated that they would not release a player for a tournament is not on the FIFA calendar.

“We have all the players that we wanted except Tšotleho whose team refused to release him,” Maliehe said.

“But our preparations have gone well so far and we have all the players that we wanted.

“Matsoso and Bereng who both play outside the country, have been with the team from the start of the week and we are happy to have them early,” he said.

Likuena is expected to go into full camp from next week as the players will no longer have club commitments with the Econet Premier League season expected to end this Saturday.

Likuena squad:

Goalkeepers: Likano Mphuthi, Sam Ketsekile, Monaheng Ramalefane.

Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi, Basia Makepe, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo and Kopano Tseka.

Midfielders: Tswarelo Bereng, Hlompho Kalake, Mabuti Potloane, Kefuoe Mahula, Mosiuoa Boseka, Lebajoa Mosehlenyane, Tumelo Khutlang, Litšepe Marabe, Jane Thaba-Ntšo, Luciano Matsoso, Lehlohonolo Fothoane.

Strikers: Motebang Sera and Nkoto Masoabi.

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