Notši names provisional squad

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MASERU — Lesotho national football team coach Leslie Notši on Tuesday named a provisional 23-man squad to prepare for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Burundi in November.

“It’s not a final list yet. We are going to have a camp from October 26 until November 11, when we include foreign-based players,” Notši said.

The team announced on Tuesday is entirely made up of home-based players.

The players will train at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena from Monday to Wednesday until the final squad, which will include foreign-based players, is announced on October 26.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Notši also revealed the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) president Salemane Phafane wanted 60 percent of the squad to be from the Under-20 team.

“The president wants 60 percent of the team to come from the Under-20 side,” Notši said.

“He had said 80 percent but after discussions we agreed on 60 percent.”

When Likuena was disbanded in February last year the message from Lefa was that the senior team would be built around the national Under-20 team that qualified for this year’s Caf Africa Youth Championship in South Africa.

But in the recent games against Swaziland only Tsebang Lebata, Montoeli Sonopo, Salebone Lekhooa and Kopano Tseka made it onto the field.

Likuena are looking to build on their 2-1 win friendly over Botswana last Tuesday in what was Lesotho’s first away success since May 2008.

Notši said he was pleased with the progress the side had made since it got together nearly two months ago when he named a 43-man provisional squad.

“Our programme has helped shed light on our team and players. After the Swaziland games we were able to cut down the squad.

“We played a match against United FC from South Africa’s First Division and another against the Zebras of Botswana. We have players in that country  (Botswana) and they were also included in the team,” Notši said.

Lesotho won the game against Botswana last Tuesday thanks to goals from Lehlomela Ramabele, who is based in that country with BDF XI and LCS striker Thulo Ranchobe.

The squad also included Nkau Lerotholi, Moitheri Ntobo and Lioli keeper Mohau Kuenane.

The only players who took part in the game against Botswana and are not in the present squad are Bushy Moletsane and Bokang Mothoana who are based in Botswana and Tunisia respectively.

“Although we got the win that everyone desired our main objective was to see our team playing the way we wanted them to play. In that sense we are satisfied, what we want now in to be consistent,” Notši said.

“We had more goal attempts than we have had before,” he said.

The Likuena coach said the door was still open for those players who do well.

Notši also said he planned to play practice games every Wednesday.

There is now also a focus to get friendly games to prepare the team for the crucial first leg clash against Burundi on November 11 at Setsoto Stadium.

“We should not rest on our laurels. We are working on securing other games before the Burundi tie,” Notši said.

“Burundi is not an easy team, when we get there we have to be prepared.”

Notši mentioned Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola as possibilities.

Notši said it was difficult to secure friendly matches because most teams are engaged in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Burundi themselves have been taking part in the Nations Cup qualifiers and are second in Group H behind runaway leaders Ivory Coast.

They played to a 1-1 draw with Benin on Sunday.

“I would prefer to play East African and Central African teams but the logistics are not under my control. It’s also about funds,” Notši said.

Likuena squad

Goalkeepers: Kananelo Makhooane (Likhopo), Phoka Matete (Linare), Mohau Kuenane (Lioli)

Defenders: Motiki Mohale, Thapelo Mokhehle, Nkau Lerotholi (all Matlama), Moitheri Ntobo (LCS), Kopano Tseka (Lerotholi), Thabo Masualle (Lioli), Likano Teele, Thabiso Maile (both Bantu), Salebone Lekhooa (Likhopo)

Midfielders: Motlalepula Mofolo, Montoeli Sonopo (both Lioli), Tšoanelo Koetle (Matlama), Ralekoti Mokhahlane (LCS), Tsebang Lebata, Tšeliso Sejake (both Likhopo), Mosiuoa Boseka (Bantu)

Strikers: Dlomo Monapathi (Matlama), Sello ‘Muso (Lioli), Mojela Letsie (LDF), Thulo Ranchobe (LCS).

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