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Lesotho to face Malawi

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Teboho Molapo

 

MASERU — Lesotho are likely to get a sneak preview into the future make-up of any Likuena side when a Lesotho development team plays Malawi in a friendly international on Tuesday.

The match will be part of Malawi’s Independence Day celebrations.

National Under-20 coach Leslie Notši, who was caretaker coach for Likuena until it was disbanded in February, will be in charge of the team.

The team includes six players who have not been part of the Under-20 set-up since the Lesotho Football Association said the youth side would form the core of its development programme.

Matlama goalkeeper Liteboho Mokhesi and centre-backs Thabo Masualle of Lioli and LCS’s Moitheri Ntobo are included in Notši’s squad.

Bokang Mothoana, who plays for Tunisia’s US Monistir, has been called up along with the Lioli duo of Bushy Moletsane and Motlalepula Mofolo.

Matlama striker Dlhomo Monapathi will spearhead the attack.

The 18-man squad which also contains three players from the national Under-17 squad — Tšeliso Ramathe, Liteboho Thabane and Mohau Khali — left Maseru yesterday and will return on Wednesday.

It is likely the side will more or less be the one to represent Lesotho at this year’s Cosafa Senior Challenge.

In an interview with the Sunday Express on Thursday, Notši said this could even be the future Likuena team.

“I would say yes, but at the same time there are still other players that are in the picture,” Notši said.

“If you look at when we played South Africa (in January) there are players who were in that team but are not here.”

One such notable absentee is Lesotho captain Lehlohonolo Seema although he is fit again after an injury-troubled season and is available to play, as it is the off-season.

But Notši said not much should be read into Seema’s absence.

“Our main aim is to develop. We thought that we should just look at local players and give them an opportunity. He is still part of the team,” Notši said.

He said the six new layers were added to strengthen the spine of the team.

Lesotho will line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Under-20 attacking midfielders Litšepe Marabe, Tsebang Lebata and Jeremea Kamele supporting Monapathi who will be the man upfront.

Lioli skipper Masualle will captain the national team for the first time.

In an interesting move, Tšoanelo Koetle will play at right back.

Notši has come under fire for playing Koetle in a central midfield role for the Makoanyane XI side although he plays at right-back for his club Matlama.

“When he arrived we realised that he is brilliant player and we decided to give him a role that we felt suited his qualities,” he said.

“His tactical awareness is of a high standard and he has become better.

“But the level is now a higher one. He’s going to learn from the senior players around him.”

“A very good player can play in every position,” Notši added.

He said the match against Malawi would be a good test for Lesotho’s development process.

Tuesday’s match against Malawi comes in the backdrop of Lesotho’s crucial Caf Under-20 Championships qualifying tie against South Africa in less than three weeks’ time.

The Makoanyane XI will play the first leg in South Africa on July 24 or 25 with the return leg at Setsoto Stadium on August 8.

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