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Mahlaha welcomes COSAFA draw

Moorosi Tsiane

NATIONAL Under-17 soccer coach Halemakale Mahlaha has welcomed this year’s COSAFA draw saying they would go for the kill in the forthcoming edition which runs from 11 to 20 October 2019.

Lesotho was recently drawn in Group B alongside Angola, Mozambique and the Comoros Islands while Group A is made up of hosts Malawi, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

Mahlaha, whose side was knocked out in the group stages last year said they are aiming to improve their results this year.

He recently told the Sunday Express that he welcomed the draw and his side is ready to do battle.

“We are ready for any country, so we welcome the draw,” Mahlaha said.

“This team is a development team where we are developing players for the under-20 and senior national team but this year we want to do things differently. We are going for the kill. We are going to the tournament to compete and not just to add numbers.”

Mahlaha said they are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the tournament.

“Our mandate is to give the players exposure but we want more than that. Our preparations for tournament are very different from what we have done in the past because we want to get our players ready.

“We have played two friendlies with Botswana and eSwatini and we won both. We have also been playing premier league teams because we want to ensure that the players get used to playing against bigger players. Previously we have struggled whenever we face teams that have bigger players,” he said.

Mahlaha however, said they are now facing challenges of accessing players as some schools are closed.

“There is a serious inconsistency in terms of attendance of schools and that deters us from accessing some players. There is also a high school competition being played this weekend, so we had to release the players to their respective schools. However, we are doing all we can to get all players in shape by October,” he said.

Mahlaha also urged development coaches to bring in players whom they believe can make it into the final squad.

“We are still open to trying new players and I urge coaches from across the country who work with developmental teams to send in players for trials so that we can see if they can make a mark. We want to give everyone a chance before we do a final selection. This is practically a new team because we have only three players who were in last year’s team,” Mahlaha said.


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