Matete to name ‘strong­est’ team

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Na­tional team coach, Seep­hephe Matete, says he would be tak­ing his strong­est pos­si­ble squad to next month’s Coun­cil of South­ern africa Foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) tour­na­ment.

Matete on Mon­day told the Le­sotho Times he had beefed up his ini­tial squad by adding ex­pe­ri­enced de­fender thabo Ma­su­alle and goal­keeper Kananelo Makhooane, to the team. amer­ica-based striker Jane ‘Sunny’ tšotleho could also be part of the team at the 17-31 May cham­pi­onship, where le­sotho have been pooled in Group B along­side tan­za­nia, Mada­gas­car and Swazi­land.

How­ever, the vet­eran men­tor said pre­mier league top goal-scorer, litšepe Marabe, re­mains side-lined from the team due to dis­ci­plinary is­sues.

ac­cord­ing to Matete, le­sotho would be us­ing the re­gional tour­na­ment as part of prepa­ra­tions for the 2015 african Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (CHAN), 2017 africa Cup of Na­tions (AF­CON) and 2018 Fifa World Cup qual­i­fiers, hence the need to name his best side for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We have been work­ing on the lo­gis­tics of bring­ing tšotleho for the match and it looks like he will be part of the team that will be play­ing at the Cosafa tour­na­ment be­cause we would want to get him ready for the Af­con qual­i­fiers,” Matete said.

“i have also re-called thabo Ma­su­alle of Bantu to strengthen our de­fence, while likhopo’s Kananelo Makhooane has re­placed in­jured Mat­lama goal­keeper, Makhetha Thakeli.”

Matete be­lieves a good show at the Cosafa cham­pi­onship would boost the play­ers’ con­fi­dence ahead of their Af­con Group J qual­i­fiers against Al­ge­ria, Ethiopia, and the Sey­chelles, which begin in June this year.

“the team will go into camp this Fri­day and so far, things are go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan,” said Matete.

“the play­ers have been com­ing for ses­sions three days a week, and re­sponded well to train­ing. Now we are work­ing on get­ting all of them fully fit, es­pe­cially those who have been strug­gling with in­juries such as lefty (Bokang Mothoana). He is one of the se­niors in this team and very ex­pe­ri­enced as well. i feel if fully fit, he will play a crit­i­cal role in th­ese cam­paigns.”

Matete, mean­while, ad­mit­ted that the team would miss the ser­vices of re­tired for­mer cap­tain Moitheri Ntobo, as well as Ba­sia Makepe and tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane, who have not been play­ing foot­ball as they are un­der­go­ing po­lice train­ing.

“there is no doubt that we will miss Moitheri’s ex­pe­ri­ence and lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, but life must go on and we have to groom a good re­place­ment since we are in a re­build­ing process,” said Matete.

“and of-course, we will miss the two play­ers un­der­go­ing po­lice train­ing, but i have been told we might have them for the World Cup qual­i­fiers which begin in July.”

De­spite fac­ing tricky op­po­si­tion, Matete is con­fi­dent Likuena would do well in the qual­i­fiers.

“We will have to box smart; it’s go­ing to be a tough jour­ney which needs good prepa­ra­tions and I’m con­fi­dent the in­ten­sive pro­gramme that we are go­ing to have will help us,” he said.

Speak­ing about Marabe, Matete said it was im­por­tant for play­ers to re­spect na­tional team call-ups.

“the mat­ter is still un­der dis­cus­sion, and a de­ci­sion will be made in due course. But what the play­ers should un­der­stand is that wear­ing your coun­try’s colours is al­ways an hon­our to any player, and that’s why you never for­get your first call to the na­tional team,” Matete said.

Matete also ex­plained his team would play friendly matches against pre­mier league sides or a pick of for­eign­ers who turn out for lo­cal sides.

Le­sotho squad Goal­keep­ers: Mohau Kananelo Makhoaoane. De­fend­ers: Nkau lerotholi, Jere­mea Kamele, Nketsi Rankhasa, Motiki Mohale, John Mohai, Sepir­iti Male­fane, lisema lebokol­lane, thabo Ma­su­alle. Mid­field­ers: teboho Mota, Mabuti Pot­loane, Phaha tšosane, Bokang Mothoana, Bushy Mo­let­sane, lekhanya lekhanya, Hlom­pho Kalake, tšoanelo Koe­tle, Mohau Ram­mo­neng, thabiso Mo­hapi. Strik­ers: thapelo tale, Nkoto Ma­soabi, tumelo Khut­lang.


UNITED States-based striker Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho (right) is likely to be part of the Cosafa tour­na­ment squad.

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