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Egypt strife rocks U-23 team

Pascalinah Kabi

 MASERU – Makoanyane XI’s preparations for the Caf Youth Championships in Libya have suffered yet another setback.

The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) on Thursday said it was cancelling a training camp scheduled for Egypt in March.

Egypt has been in political turmoil for almost two weeks with protesters demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

This is the second time that Lefa have been forced to cancel a training camp for Makoanyane XI.

Lefa had initially planned to have the team train in Tunisia but were forced to cancel the camp due to political protests that rocked the North African country last month.

Lefa chief executive officer Mofihli
Makoele confirmed these developments.

“We had planned to camp in Tunisia in the first place but because of unrest in that country, we changed to Egypt,” Makoele said.

Makoele said now that Egypt is also being hit by political instability, Lefa had decided to completely cancel the international training camp for Makoanyane XI.

“Egypt is also going through political instability and we can’t risk going
there ahead of the games in Libya,” he said.

He said the association had
decided that the team will instead
go straight to Libya six days before
the games begin.

“We have decided to go straight to Libya and we will be leaving on March 12,” Makoele said.

The tournament begins on March 18.

He said that the association was making plans to allow the team to find a suitable training camp ahead of the games.

“As we speak Ntate Mohapi is co-ordinating with people from that place to find us a suitable place before the (official) village is opened,” Makoele said.

“We are also waiting for Caf to let us know when the village will be opened so that we can make adequate plans on our side,” he said.

He said they were also working hard to secure a friendly match in Libya.

“We also want the players to have a small friendly match in that atmosphere to see if they can stand the heat,” Makoele said.

He however told the Sunday Express that Makoanyane XI will spend four days at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria beginning next Monday.

“Our plan is that from February 14 to 17, the team will be at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria to prepare for the competition in Libya.

“They will then play a friendly match in Saudi Arabia on February 20 against that country’s Under-23 team.

“On February 26, they will be playing a friendly match on home soil against Mozambique at Setsoto Stadium,” Makoele said.

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