Maliehe calls up three SA-based players
National under-20 football team coach, Moses Maliehe, has cast his net wider in a bid to bolster the squad for the crucial, 2015 African Youth Championship final qualifier against Nigeria.
After beating Swaziland and Angola in the first and second rounds of the qualifiers respectively, Makoanyane XI, as the team is affectionately known, now face Nigeria in the do-or-die, two-legged qualifier and Maliehe said he was not taking any chances, hence his decision to boost the team.
The first leg of the fixture is scheduled for Lagos on 16 August, with the return match taking place a fortnight later.
The winner qualifies for the eight-team finals of the tournament to be held from 8-22 March 2015 in Senegal.
“Nigeria are a very good side, as everyone knows, and we seriously needed to reinforce our team going to that crucial stage of the qualifiers. I have been monitoring the progress of our three boys who are based in South Africa, and I believe they will add value to the team when we face Nigeria.
“The three comprise two Maluti FET College players, Thabo Makhele, a defender, and midfielder Relebohile Moloinyane, as well as Lefu Mosebe, who plays for Premier League side Platinum Stars’ development team,” Maliehe said.
“All the negotiations have been made and the three players are expected to report for camp in July.”
Maliehe, who was appointed head-coach of Premier League outfit Mpharane Celtics last week, further said the other players started a four-week camp on Monday last week.
“The training camp is going to end when schools re-open after the winter break in July. Thereafter, the players will report for training throughout the week, unlike in the past, when we used to have training for three days a week.”
He added the team was hoping to engage South Africa, Zambia and Malawi in friendly matches before the Nigeria tie.
“We have proposed friendly matches against the three nations because they have also reached the same stage as us, in the qualifiers. However, we are still waiting to hear from all of them, on whether they are going to accept the request or not.”
Meanwhile, Maliehe said in addition to the three South Africa-based players, he was also looking at the possibility of adding some more from the domestic league.
“Although we are looking at these possibilities, 80 or rather, 90 percent of the team would still remain unchanged because it will not be easy to start working with a pool of new players. It is not that easy to make them understand how we would want them to play, and also, we are not looking to destroy the good combinations that we already have.”