THE national senior women’s soccer team, Mehalalitoe, are set for a stern test this afternoon when they lock horns with Zambia’s Shepolopolo in their Group C opening match in Lusaka.
The match scheduled for Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, starting at 3pm will see Lesotho attempt to improve their previous campaign when they were eliminated at the group stage in Zimbabwe in September 2017.
Group C also consists of Mozambique and guest team, Cameroon.
However, the Monaheng Montšo coached side has to do without star and captain Boitumelo ‘Queen’ Rabale, who last month started a football and academic scholarship in the United States.
Rabale joined another Mehalalitoe star Senate Letsie, who has been playing in the US for the last two years and also misses the COSAFA Cup for the second year in a row.
Speaking with the Lesotho Times from Port Elizabeth this week, Montšo was optimistic and said their target is to win the Zambia game.
“The morale is high in camp and we have emphasised to our players that they need to be confident to excel in the competition,” Montšo said.
“We know that it is a tough group but anything is possible in football. Nevertheless, all we have to do is win the first match.
“We told our girls not to be worried about the physical stature of their opponents and instead use their skills.”
Montšo said his side has been hard at work preparing for the tournament and are hoping to reach the knock out stage.
“We began our preparations well on time and hopefully it will work in our favour to improve our previous performance. However, it is important that we hit the ground running by winning the first game.
“The players ready to do their country proud and are aware that a lot is at stake for them. The tournament is also a great chance for exposure in the region and subsequently on the continent and beyond.
“I am hopeful that they will rise to the occasion in the first match because it is crucial for us to do well in this competition,” Montšo said.