Marai appointed CHAN coach for Likuena

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Mikia Kalati

LCS coach Mpitsa Marai will coach the senior national team squad which will face South Africa over the two-legged qualifier of the African Nations Champions (CHAN) in July and August this year.

Marai has been working as national team coach Moses Maliehe’s second in command in the national team since 2016 and according to the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) public relations officer Thabo Maretlane; his appointment to lead the national team for the CHAN competition is meant to widen the pool of top coaches in the country.

Likuena will host the first leg between July 26 and July 28 while the second leg will be played in South Africa between August 2 and 4.

“Ntate Marai has been give the responsibility to lead the team for CHAN qualifiers,” Maretlane said.

“He is already working as the assistant coach with the senior team but with the CHAN qualifiers, only local based players are eligible and we want to see what he can do when he is on his own.

“This will help us create a bigger pool of coaches and of course a succession plan if there is a need to promote him. He being tested at a high level so that he is also ready if need be, to take the team on his own.”

The LeFA publicist said that Marai will be expected to announce a different squad that will not include the players who have been part of Maliehe’s team to afford other players international exposure while also increasing the selection pool.

“With the players as well, we want to have a bigger pool of players who have international exposure and who are ready to represent the country whenever they are called to the national team.

“It’s a chance for other players to show what they can do at the bigger level which in the long run will benefit our teams.

“The whole idea of having a different coach and players is to widen the pool and have more players with the international exposure,” he said.

However, Maliehe will still be in charge of the squad that will play at the COSAFA Cup in June as Likuena aim to improve on last year’s third place finish.

Contacted for a comment, Marai stated that nothing has been finalised as yet and can only talk about the matter once he has an official letter from the association.

He also indicated that his focus is currently on the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde scheduled for next week Sunday as he is part of the Likuena technical team.

“Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to talk about that matter until there is an official letter from the association about the appointment,” Marai told this publication.

“Yes, I have heard about it, but I can only talk once everything has been finalised and again, the focus is at the moment on the match with Cape Verde,” he said.

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