MASERU — Lesotho’s national soccer team Likuena is set to bounce back on the international stage when they take part in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers that begin in November.
The decision to lift Likuena’s suspension from international matches was ratified at the Lesotho Football Association congress last weekend.
The development was discussed during Lefa’s congress on Saturday and was confirmed on Tuesday by the governing body’s media and communications officer Mikia Kalati.
“From now on the team is back and it will take part in the two-legged preliminary qualifiers for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in November,” Kalati told the Lesotho Times.
“The congress has confirmed it.”
Lesotho’s senior side has been in a self-imposed international exile since last February when it was disbanded by the Lefa.
Since its last international match against Mauritius in October 2009 Lesotho has fallen to position 176th on the Fifa rankings, the reason why Likuena will be in the preliminaries along with Africa’s other lowly ranked sides at the end of the year.
Lefa’s reason for disbanding Likuena was to focus on rebuilding it through the national Under-17 and Under-20 teams.
Kalati said the Makoanyane XI players who qualified for the Caf African Youth Championship in April are now going to form the core of Likuena.
However, he added that other players who are in good form would be looked at as well.
“Lefty (Bokang Mothoana) and Bushy (Moletsane) for example are still in their mid-20s,” Kalati said.
“During the A-Division playoffs the technical team were there. There are also players who have performed well in the just-ended Vodacom Premier League season.”
Although Lefa president Salemane Phafane in April claimed Leslie Notši would be appointed Likuena coach the association has since backtracked saying that was not official.
Notši though remains the favourite especially considering the short space of time before the beginning of the qualifiers.
“As for the coach the executive is to receive a report from the technical director,” Kalati said.
“After the Caf Youth championship in April the coach (Notši) handed in a report and that is going to be used as one of the basis to assemble the team,” he said.
Kalati said there was no date as yet when the coach would be hired but it should be done as soon as possible so that the team can have time to prepare itself.
“It has to be done quickly because the team has to prepare itself by playing international friendly games,” he said.
“The president is content with what has been achieved, there is something positive.”
Notši is currently in Egypt at a Caf symposium to discuss the 2013 CHAN Championship.
The tournament is open only for locally-based players.
Kalati said Lesotho could also play in the tournament qualifiers next year if funds are available.
He added that the senior national soccer team could also have a chance if the Cosafa Senior Challenge, which was last hosted in 2009, makes a comeback.
Since then the tournament has struggled for sponsorship but Kalati said it will now likely be played in Mozambique in September.
Meanwhile, Lesotho’s women national soccer team will take part in the 2011 Cosafa Women’s Championship in Reunion from July 2 to 9.