Matete rallies troops

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Likuena players during their training session on Tuesday
Likuena players during their training session on Tuesday

Mikia Kalati

National team interim coach, Seephephe Matete, has warned his players against complacency when they face their South African counterparts today and on Saturday at Setsoto Stadium.

Likuena play Bafana Bafana in the two friendlies to wind-up their preparations for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) scheduled for 17-30 May in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Lesotho have been drawn against Tanzania, Madagascar and Swaziland in Group B of the regional showcase, with the group winner proceeding to the quarterfinals. South Africa, on the other hand, begin the tournament in the quarterfinal, in which they face Botswana.

According to Matete, the two fixtures against South Africa would be anything but friendly.

“Our main focus at the moment is on the regional competition where we would want to go as far as we can, but we must first do well in these friendly matches to gain the much-needed confidence before Cosafa.

“I don’t want the players to focus too much on Bafana Bafana and forget about the importance of the upcoming tournament, in which we would want to go all the way.”

Matete also said he was happy with the way his squad has responded in training, and remained confident they would do well in Rustenburg. Likuena open their Cosafa account against Madagascar at Olympia Park next Monday, play Swaziland at the same venue two days later before taking on Tanzania on 22 May to end their group-stage campaign.

“The players are a bit nervous at the moment following the final selection of the team, but that will go away with time because they will need no motivation when they play South Africa,” said Matete.

“I’m also happy that Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho will be joining us in camp on Thursday. Like I have always said, he is an important member of the squad who brings a lot of quality into the team.”

The Likuena mentor said the America-based player is their real playmaker and natural replacement for the aging Bushy Moletsane.

“I think we have a balanced team and what is left now is for the boys to do the job. What is really important is for us to win our first match against Madagascar on Monday to get the winning mentality and momentum into the team,” he said.

Matete also told the Lesotho Times that the experienced duo of Nkau Lerotholi and Bokang Mothoana had been tasked with leading the team.

Meanwhile, South Africa arrived in the country yesterday morning, with the gates at Setsoto Stadium scheduled to be opened at 10 am. Kickoff for the match is at 3pm.

Likuena squad

Goalkeepers: Kholuoe Phasumane, Kananelo Makhooane.

Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi, Thapelo Mokhehle, Jerry Kamele, Nkesi Rankhasa, Thabo Masualle, Tšoanelo Koetle, Thabiso Mohapi.

Midfielders: Bokang Mothoana, Bushy Moletsane, Jane Tšotleho, Mohau Rammoneng, Mabuti Potloane, Jane Thabantšo, Hlompho Kalake, Lekhanya Lekhanya.

Strikers: Thapelo Tale, Nkoto Masoabi, Tumelo Khutlang.

 

Bafana squad

Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Mondle Mphoto (SuperSport FC), Ricardo Goss (Golden Arrows).

Defenders: Madisha Modjeka (M Tigers FC), Subisiso Mxoyana (Vasco da Gama), Marc Van Heerden (AmaZulu FC), Siyabonga Nhlapho (Bidvest Wits), Kwanda Mngonyama (Maritzburg United), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport FC), Daniel Cardoso (Free State Stars), Sibusiso Khumalo (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Midfielders: Cole Alexander (Polokwane City), Thapelo Morena (Bloemfontein Celtic), Thamsanqa Sangweni (Chippa United), Carl Lark (Santos FC), Athenkhosi Dlala (SuperSport FC), Hendrick Ekstein (Kaizer Chiefs), Mzikayise Mashaba (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Strikers: Puleng Tlolane (Polokwane City), Phumelele Bhengu (Thanda Royal Zulu), Gift Matupa (Baroka FC), Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars).

 

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