MASERU — Lesotho national Under-20 coach Leslie Notši wants his side to put on a show at the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships which kicks off in Botswana tomorrow.
Speaking before the team’s departure last night, Notši said his Makoanyane XI would be a prized scalp after the side qualified for the 2011 African Youth Championship in Libya.
Lesotho booked their place at the continental showpiece in October and will be among Africa’s eight finest Under-20 sides, including world champions Ghana.
The immediate hurdle, however, is the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championship where Makoanyane XI have been drawn in Group B alongside South Africa and Namibia.
Notši’s charges will open their account against Namibia on Saturday before locking horns with South Africa next week.
“The biggest thing is that although our team has qualified (for the African Youth Championship), at the same time we would like to dominate the southern region,” he told the Lesotho Times.
“In a presentation I made to the NEC (Lesotho Football Association’s national executive committee) that is what I pointed out, that we have not been doing well in the region.
“In 2004 we got to the final against Madagascar, but since then South Africa and Zimbabwe have dominated the competition.”
“We have to start dominating our region first,” Notši added.
“We are not taking this tournament lightly at all.
“We are taking it very seriously because we also want to show that we deserve to be in Libya next year.”
And despite the growing rivalry with South Africa, Notši said Saturday’s opener against Namibia was his side’s most crucial date.
Only the group winners will progress to the semi-finals.
Lesotho knocked South Africa out en route to qualifying for the African Youth Championship.
“The most important match to us is the game against Namibia, that is our first step,” Notši said.
“We are focused on Namibia then we can move on to South Africa.”
Notši’s charges began camp last Monday for the regional tournament which was last won by Zambia.
The following day Makoanyane XI then received a timely boost from Metropolitan Lesotho who gave them equipment and gear worth M62 000.
In their final preparation match last Wednesday, Makoanyane XI beat Botswana 3-1 at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena thanks to goals from Jeremiah Kamele, Tsebang Lebata and Litšepe Marabe.