New kid on the Likuena block

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IMG_1812Mikia Kalati

INTERIM national football team coach, Moses Maliehe, has included South Africa-based winger, Luciano Matsoso, in Likuena’s first camp since the Matlama mentor’s appointment in October 2015.

The weeklong camp, which began on Monday, is meant to assess Likuena’s preparedness ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group J qualifier against the Seychelles in March.

Matsoso was born in the Maseru suburb of Moshoeshoe II and relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa at the age of five. The 21-year old told the Lesotho Times in an interview this week that his passion for football began at the tender age of 10.

“I developed the love for soccer at a very young age,” Matsoso said.

“I then joined the School of Excellence in Johannesburg, which identifies and enrolls talented young football players, before being identified by Bloemfontein Celtic scouts and signing up for the club’s junior team.”

The winger said he benefitted immensely from the mentorship he received from various coaches over the years.

“I worked under a lot of top coaches at the School of Excellence and Bloemfontein Celtic where I was also promoted to the first team by Khabo Zondo,” Matsoso said.

“I, however, did not manage to play in an official first team match after sustaining a serious injury that kept me out of the game for a long time. I ended up going under the knife because of the injury.

“Following my recovery, I ended up playing for Roses United in the South Africa National First Division where I was coached by Clinton Larsen and Simon Gopane.”

The pacy forward said he recently went for trials at a club in Thailand, although the intended move fell through.

The focus, Matsoso said, would now be on securing a club in the South African leagues.

“I am now working towards finalizing a move to a team in SA’s first division, although there is also some interest from teams in the premier league,” he said.

Having already impressed Maliehe after only a few days in camp, Matsoso said the call-up to the national team came as a pleasant surprise since he had a “soft spot” for Lesotho.

“To be honest, I was elated and also shocked when I was told by my agent, Abel Shongwe, that I had been called up for the Lesotho national team,” he said.

“I had a chance to represent South Africa at the youth level, but always had a soft spot for Lesotho since it is my home country. I feel priviledged to be afforded this opportunity.

“I will make the most of it, and hopefully, I will be in the team that will play in the upcoming matches.”

On his part, Maliehe told this paper that Matsoso had settled quickly into the team.

“Because he is a good player, it did not take him a long time to settle in. Luciano is a very intelligent winger who can be a nightmare for any defender,” the Likuena mentor said.

“I also have the United States-based Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho in camp since he is back home sorting out his immigration documents.

“Hopefully, the two of them will be available for the games against Seychelles since they are young and have been exposed to better leagues which will improve the performance of the team.”

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