By Mikia Kalati
MASERU — National under-20 team coach Moses Maliehe has set his sights on entering the country’s football history books by leading Makoanyane XI to next year’s African Youth Championship.
Lesotho play the tournament’s first round, first leg against Swaziland in Mbabane on April 5 with the reverse fixture taking place three weeks later at Setsoto and Maliehe is confident his charges would advance to the next stage of the competition at the expense of their regional rivals.
Makoanyane XI first qualified for the tournament in 2005 under coach Seephephe Matete, and repeated the feat in 2011 with Leslie Notši at the helm and Maliehe as his assistant.
“I know there are a lot of expectations on me to lead the country to their third African under-20 Championship. And right now, everything is in place as we prepare for the first round, first leg match against Swaziland away from home,” said Maliehe.
Maliehe further said he was aware of what to expect against the Swazis after watching them during last December’s Cosafa under-20 tournament held here in Lesotho.
“I know what it takes to qualify for the competition, and I believe the current team, which has been built from the Makoanyane XI that took part in the Cosafa tournament, is good enough to do it for the nation.
“We have only lost a few players who no longer to qualify to play
in this age-group, but still have a strong team that will do the country proud,” said Maliehe.
Mafa Moremoholo, who captained Makoanyane XI during the Cosafa tournament, Bokang Sello, Hlompho Kalake and Sepiriti Malefane are among the players who no longer qualify to play in the African Youth Championship, which is only for those below 20 years of age.
However, Maliehe said he has since found good replacements, mainly from the A and B divisions.
“We have managed to get good players from the lower leagues and believe they will do the job for us in this tournament.
“We also still have experienced Premier League players who are eligible for the team, such as Teboho Lekhooa and Tokelo Majoro of Lioli.”