Likuena await Cosafa fate

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

na­tional foot­ball team in­terim coach, Seep­hephe Matete, is hop­ing for tough op­po­nents when the 2015 Coun­cil of South­ern africa Foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) Cup draw is con­ducted in Jo­han­nes­burg to­day.

the tour­na­ment is set for South africa’s north West Prov­ince from 17-31 May, with an­gola, Botswana, Le­sotho, Mada­gas­car, Malawi, Mau­ri­tius, Mozam­bique, namibia, the Sey­chelles, South africa, Swazi­land, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe set to fight for the sil­ver­ware.

ac­cord­ing to Matete, he in­tends to take a com­pletely new team to the tour­na­ment which most na­tions have in­creas­ingly been us­ing to groom new play­ers for big­ger tour­na­ments such as the africa Cup of na­tions (af­con) and World Cup.

“We all know that a good num­ber of the play­ers who were in our na­tional team last year have reached the wrong side of their ca­reers and we have to start afresh.

“I am hop­ing to get most of the play­ers from the un­der-20 side which did ex­cep­tion­ally well in the African Youth Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers last year,” Matete said.

“the plan is have a young team and give it in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure start­ing with the Co- safa tour­na­ment, as we build for fu­ture af­con and World Cup qual­i­fiers.

“Hope­fully, we are go­ing to get good op­po­si­tion when the draw is con­ducted on thurs­day,” Matete said.

Matete added he was al­ready mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for the play­ers’ camp ahead of two friendly matches next month.

“there are two Fifa dates for friendly matches in March and we would want to play two matches then as part of prepa­ra­tions for the Cosafa Cup,” said Matete.

“un­for­tu­nately, we have not had a na­tional un­der-23 team that would have helped pre­pare the play­ers for the se­nior team, so a com­pe­ti­tion like Cosafa gives us that plat­form to give young play­ers in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure.”

How­ever, Matete said he would also in­clude a few ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers to en­sure the team re­mains very com­pet­i­tive.

“I know the fans still ex­pect to see a com­pet­i­tive team, but the main aim will be to build a strong side for big­ger in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.”

Le­sotho lost 4-3 to South africa in the third­place play­off in the 2013 edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion held in Zam­bia. Likuena, as the na­tional foot­ball team is af­fec­tion­ately known, fin­ished ahead of Kenya, Swazi­land and Botswana in their group to ad­vance to the play­off stage.

Makoanyane XI be­fore their 2014 African Youth Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier against Swazi­land.

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