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Likuena to play Zebras

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Teboho Molapo

MASERU — The Lesotho senior national soccer team returns to action when they face Botswana in a friendly match on August 10, the Sunday Express reveal.
The development was confirmed by Likuena team manager and Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) second vice-president Khiba Mohoanyane on Friday.
“We have written to the Botswana Football Association requesting for an international friendly,” Mohoanyane told the Sunday Express.
Mohoanyane said Lefa wanted to play Botswana at home but their opponents have pressed to host the fixture.
“We wanted them to come here but we are equally stranded when it comes to games (so) it looks like the game will be played in Botswana,” Mohoanyane said.
Lesotho’s national side has not played a full international since
September 2009, a 1-0 win over Mauritius in the Cosafa Senior Challenge.
Botswana on the other hand have been one of the success stories of the year after they became the first nation to qualify for the 2012 Africa Nations Cup tournament.
Botswana are ranked 74th on the Fifa world rankings, 104 places ahead of Lesotho.
The Sunday Express understands that negotiations for the game have been in progress for sometime and that the match is seen by both countries as vital preparation for crucial qualification games late in the year.
Botswana plays Togo in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September while Lesotho will play in a preliminary round for the 2014 World Cup in November.
Mohoanyane said Lefa wanted to organise more preparatory games for Likuena but they were struggling to find opponents.
“Our options are the usual countries; Botswana and Swaziland. We don’t have a large selection because of costs and our geographical constraints,” he said.
Mohoanyane added that negotiations were underway with South African Premiership clubs, Bloemfontein Celtics and Free State Stars, over possible matches early next month.
“We spoke to them about the possibility of going there on the 3rd, 4th or 5th (August),” Mohoanyane said.
The encounter against Botswana is expected to give Likuena mentor Leslie Notsi a test of the hot seat since he was appointed coach last month.
Notši is currently overseeing a 42-man provisional squad in training at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.
The camp is in preparation for a preliminary World Cup qualifier in November whose draw will be done in Brazil next week.
Meanwhile, Mohoanyane also revealed that the Cosafa Senior Challenge will take place later in the
year with South Africa being the likely hosts.
The regional showpiece failed to take place last year with organisers struggling to raise funds in recent years.
“The tournament is anticipated to be played in November or December,” Mohoanyane said.
He said they had not yet received any correspondence from Cosafa regarding this year’s tournament.

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