Tšotleho opts for Likuena

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia

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.

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