Mokhothu expects Kuenane to stay

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Mikia Kalati

LIOLI coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu says Mohau Kuenane is still in his plans despite the veteran goalkeeper finding very little game time during the first round of the Vodacom Premier League.

Mokhothu told the Lesotho Times this week that the outstanding form of this season’s signing from Likhopo, Kananelo Makhooane, had relegated Kuenane and last year’s goalkeeper of the season, Liteboho Mokhehle, to the bench.

“At the start of the season, I had a policy of rotating the three goalkeepers at Lioli. However, there came a time when Makhooane edged the other two goalkeepers and cemented his place in the first 11 because of his good performances,” he said.

“That does not mean that Kuenane is not part of our plans. He remains an important member of the team.”

The league-winning coach said the long-serving Kuenane would be called to action for the team in the next two months during the league, 2016 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League and LNIG Top 8 campaigns.

Lioli will face Burundian side Vital’ô Football Club in the two-legged preliminary round of the CAF Champions League in February.

“He (Kuenane) is a hard working player and has been training in preparation for the start of the second round of the premier league and the tough fixtures ahead of us,” Mokhothu said.

“I can say for certain that he is an important component in our plans, and all he — and the other goalkeepers — need to do is work hard to secure the first choice position.

“We are going to need all our experienced players in order to defend the league title, do well in Africa and also try and win the Top 8.”

Lioli president, Lebohang Thotanyana, echoed the coach’s sentiments, saying Kuenane was not going anywhere despite rumours linking him with a move to rivals Bantu.

A Matšo Matebele, as Bantu is affectionately known, decided to part ways with their first choice goalkeeper, Kholuoe Phasumane, who has been transfer-listed by the club along with five other players allegedly because of ill-discipline.

“There has never been a (transfer) issue with Kuenane. He is contracted to Lioli and has a long-term deal with us,” Thotanyana said.

“He is one of our senior players and has a big role to play considering the busy schedule we have in Africa and domestically.”

The Lioli boss said he would also iron out issues with midfielder Thuso Suping, who is reportedly unsettled at the club.

“I think the matter was blown out of proportion because I had talked with the player and will meet him again to map a way forward,” said Thotanyana.

“I think the claims that Thuso Suping is unsettled were a result of him struggling to cope with pressure, especially after he missed a penalty in the Independence Cup final against Bantu. But he is ok now.”

Thotanyana, who is also Mining minister, expressed satisfaction with the progress Tse Nala made in the first round of the season by finishing at the top of the league.

“The team has been performing well and we were able to overcome a poor run of results during the first round. We are now looking forward to the second round,” he said.

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