Seema is back

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MASERU — Lesotho international and Orlando Pirates skipper Lehlohonolo Seema is back in the fold after more than three months on the sidelines through injury.
The defensive rock could feature for the Buccaneers this Saturday — his first competitive match since tearing a thigh muscle in a Telkom Charity semi-final tie against Platinum Stars on August 1.
The Buccaneers — whose early season promise has turned nightmarish over recent weeks — host an equally unpredictable Ajax Cape Town in an ABSA Premier League       tie at the Orlando Stadium, with Seema hoping to reclaim his place in the heart of the team’s rather shaky defence.    
According to reports from South Africa Seema, 29, was outstanding in Pirates’ 6-0 rout of Inter SA in a weekend friendly, and looks set to return to the starting line-up alongside midfielder Bennett Chenene — another long-term injury victim.
It was initially thought Seema had suffered a minor groin injury, only for the doctor to confirm the bald-headed defender would be out for at least three months.
Seema, a regular at Pirates since joining the Soweto giants in 2006, told the Lesotho Times yesterday  he had fully recovered from his injury and was ready for competitive action. The former Bloemfontein Celtic and Bantu FC player says he has been training “extremely hard” to cover for lost time.
“I have fully recovered from the injury and I am feeling comfortable and experiencing no problems,” Seema said.
“I have been training three times a day and starting an hour before everybody else to make sure that I keep up with the rest of the team.”
Despite the full recovery, Seema knows he has his work cut out in trying to start for such a star-studded side as Pirates.
“I’m not sure if I will be playing on Saturday because the team has been doing well in my absence. There is so much competition among the players who want to make sure they play week in, week out. So nothing is guaranteed and one can only be optimistic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Seema said the Lesotho Football Association needs to concentrate more on development sides if Likuena’s performance is to improve.
“If Lefa could concentrate more on developing the under-17 and under-20 sides through organising many international friendlies, we can build a strong Likuena,” he said.
“If you look at the people who play for Likuena, some are too old, making it difficult to build a strong future national team.”
He said Lefa should take advantage of the Fifa international calendar to give the junior players more experience and exposure.
“When talking about the Fifa calendar, it should not only be about Likuena; it can also be used to give under-17 and under-20 players more experience and exposure.”
Seema also believes Likuena’s major setback is lack of adequate preparations.
“It is also difficult for the coach and players to prepare for matches when given one week only to practise. A coach cannot really produce a good combination of players within one week of camping.”
He said it is “heart-breaking” to watch the national junior teams’ matches because the youngsters have the potential.
“It is a heart-breaking experience to watch our national under-17 and under-20 teams in action because their opponents would not be any better,” he said.
“Our boys just lack coordination and understanding because they do not have much experience and exposure.”
Seema, who has 55 national caps, said Lefa needed to ensure players were accorded the necessary support.

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