Makoanyane XI off to CAF tourney

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MASERU — Makoanyane XI’s 25-man delegation left the country yesterday for the Caf Under-20 Youth Championship in South Africa with an injury-free team.

All the 20 players were declared fit to compete at the championship following tests at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria last week. 

The tournament will be held in Johannesburg from April 17 to May 2.

Makoanyane XI are expected to stay in South Africa for three days prior to their opening match against Egypt on Sunday at Dobsonville Stadium.

The team will rest for two days before locking horns with hosts South Africa on Wednesday.

Its last group stage match will be played against Mali next Friday.

All Makoanyane XI’s group stage matches will be played at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

“There are no serious injuries within the team that we can really write home about,” said Makoanyane XI team manager Khiba Mohoanyane.

 “All the 20 players are fit and ready and the team should be leaving for the games by tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.

Mohoanyane said despite the inconveniencies caused by the cuts in their budget, the team was ready both physically and mentally.

Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) had initially budgeted M1.5 million for Makoanyane XI before the sports ministry cut the budget to M500 000.

“We have been with this team for a long time now and we can safely say the players are ready both mentally and physically to make Lesotho proud,” he said.

Mohoanyane added: “This is a good sign for us as a country and the team given that our budget was cut just last week.”

The best four nations will compete at the 2011 Fifa Under-20 World Cup scheduled to run from July 29 to August 20 in Colombia.

Makoanyane XI qualified for the games after dismissing Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya in the qualifying rounds.

South Africa however made it to the tournament after replacing Libya as hosts.

The tournament was moved from Libya last month due to political instability in the North African country.

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