Makoanyane XI off to Botswana

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MASERU — Lesotho’s Under-20 national team were given a hearty send-off by their sponsors on Monday ahead of Metropolitan Cosafa youth championships that begin in Gaborone, Botswana, today.

Metropolitan Lesotho organised a function at Maseru Sun hotel to wish the boys a fruitful battle at the tournament which kicks off today and ends next Saturday.

The Makoanyane XI who are drawn in Group B begin their campaign on Sunday against what looks to be the group’s toughest match against Malawi.

They will then face Seychelles on Monday.

Only the four group winners will progress to the semi-finals which will be played next Thursday.

Should the Makoanyane XI progress they will face a side from Group A made up of hosts Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and the Comoros.

In their final preparatory match on Saturday Lesotho beat South Africa 2-1 at Setsoto Stadium.

Lesotho will be looking to continue their good form at the Under-20 level and win the competition for the first time.

Earlier this year the Makoanyane XI were one of eight teams at the Caf Youth Championships in South Africa.

In last year’s contest Lesotho were knocked out in the group stages despite being undefeated.

The Makoanyane XI beat South Africa 2-1 and drew 2-2 with Namibia but were eliminated on goal difference.

This year Lesotho once again face the tricky task of being in a three-team group. It is the only three-team group in the tournament with the rest of the groups consisting of four teams.

Fifteen countries are taking part in the tournament this year.

Makoanyane XI coach Mahao Matete has picked a strong side which includes seven players who were in the Likuena picture in recent months.

Thirteen of the 20-man team were at the Caf Youth Championships.

Matete’s selection includes Lehlomela Ramabele who scored Likuena’s winner in a World Cup qualifier against Burundi earlier this month.

The Botswana-based striker is joined by Litšepe Marabe who also plies his trade in Botswana.

Tumisang Bereng who is currently with Platinum Stars in South Africa also joins the squad.

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