Makoanyane XI steps up COSAFA preps
THE National under-20 coach, Bob Mafoso, says his side has stepped up preparations for the upcoming COSAFA tournament to be played in Kitwe, Zambia from the 2nd to the 14th of next month.
Makoanyane XI, as the team is affectionately known, are in Group C alongside Angola, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The outfit recently played three friendlies against Free State Stars’ reserve team, Likuena and Lioli. They beat Free State Stars 1-0 before losing 1-0 to Likuena and to Lioli with a similar score line.
In a recent interview with the Sunday Express, Mafoso said they are working on their final preparations and their selection.
“We are trying to gear up our preparations for the COSAFA and we will announce the final squad of 19 players on Monday (tomorrow), we are going to cut them down from 23 and we will start the full camp on the 25th of this month,” Mafoso said.
“We played two friendlies this week and I think we played well.”
Mafoso expressed worries that most local players have a tendency of succumbing to stage freight whenever they play in regional and continental competitions.
“This country is blessed with abundant talent but the only problem is that big stages tend to intimidate our players. The international stage is explosive, so if levels of fitness are down it always affects the confidence. It becomes worse for debutants.”
Mafoso has six players (Liteboho Nkune, Bonang Mohapi Batlang Mokhele Khemisi Maeza Thaane Mokoena) who were part of the team that competed in last year ‘s edition of the tournament in Zambia.
Mafoso, who was assistant coach to Leslie Notši in the team THAT WAS beaten by South Africa in the final last year, said the only cure for stage freight is affording players international friendlies.
“We need more international friendlies of higher level. We also need more training time (quality, physically), before the competitions,” Mafoso said.
He however, said they would fight to get positive results at the tournament.
“We will fight for results because just like any other team, we will be going there to compete,” Mafoso said.