Tšotleho opts for Likuena
Kalati Midfielder Jane ‘ Sunny’ Tšotleho will miss the opening two matches of the American second-tier United Soccer league (USL) because of the national team.
Tšotleho (24) signed for richmond Kicker from Wilmington Hammerheads in december 2015 but was only unveiled in January this year by his new side.
richmond start their season on 25 March against Wilmington — a day before lesotho play Seychelles away in the first of crucial back-to-back 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
four days later, likuena face the same foes at Setsoto Stadium in the reverse fixture of the qualifier, whose outcome could decide the team’s fate in the biennial cham- pionship.
However, Tšotleho told the Lesotho Times he had chosen to return home and represent his country instead of making his debut for his new club.
“i am in preseason training right now and my first game is on the 25th of March, but i will be missing the two opening matches because i will be with the national team for the back-to-back games against the Seychelles,” Tšotleho said.
“i’m very happy at my new club and things have been going well for me. i know my coach is not very pleased about the fact that i will be missing the opening of the season, but at the same time, he is happy for me because he knows this is something big that will help me in my career.”
regarding the standard of the game in the USL, Tšotleho said the teams are very competitive while the clubs also pay “decent” salaries. He would not mention figures but said the remuneration was “okay”.
“Some of the players are paid really well. it’s very professional in this league and for me, it’s getting better with each passing year.
“i feel in the next year or so, the salaries will be at the same level as those being paid to players in the topflight Major League Soccer,” he said.
Meanwhile, national team coach, Moses Maliehe, confirmed to the Lesotho Times that Tšotleho would be part of the squad to face the Seychelles later this month.
Maliehe further said he would announce his final team for the crucial matches next week.
“We have not stopped training since december when we had a two-day camp which ‘Sunny’ was part of since he was here sorting out his papers,” Maliehe said this week.
“So he is very much part of our plans and we are bringing him for the two games against the Seychelles.”
lesotho are bottom of Group J which also consists of table-topping Algeria, secondplaced ethiopia and the Seychelles. They lost the opening match 2-1 against ethiopia on 14 June 2015 away in Addis Ababa, and also went down 3-1 to Algeria on 6 September 2015 at Setsoto Stadium.
But Maliehe, who was not yet in charge when likuena lost the two matches, believes lesotho can still rescue their campaign and make it to the final scheduled for Gabon.
The group winners automatically qualify for the finals, while the runners-up also make it if they are one of the two runnersup with the best record.
Jane Tšotleho (left) in action for his former side Wilmington Hammerheads.