National team interim coach Moses Maliehe has defended the exclusion of LMPS forward Tšepo Seturumane from the squad to face Seychelles in back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for 25 and 29 March away and at Setsoto stadium respectively.
Seturumane has been a vital member of Likuena since his debut in 2013 but the 25-year-old was not part of the team announced by Maliehe on Wednesday. The squad goes into full camp tomorrow at Bambatha Tsita Sports Arena
Maliehe on Friday told the Sunday Express there was “nothing new” about Seturumane’s exclusion because players are called-up to the national team on current form and not reputation.
“Players always come and go, so there is nothing new about him and people should not be surprised that he was not called up for these two qualifiers against the Seychelles. I pick players on their current form not history and Tšepo has not been doing well in the league so it should not be a surprise that I left him out,” Maliehe said.
However, the Matlama mentor said the 2012/13 Vodacom Premier League top goal-scorer could still feature for the team in the future if his performance improves.
“He is a good player, I know, but it would not be fair to the other players if we select based on history. It will be more like if you ask me why Lehlomela Ramabele is in the team now while he has not been selected for the last matches. But he (Ramabele) is playing well now and currently tops the premier league scoring charts, so he deserve to be in the national team,” he said.
Maliehe further said he selected the team based on the style of play he wants to employ against the islanders.
“I also do the selection based on how I want to play. I must be sure that the players I pick will suit the style I want them to play,” said Maliehe.
The coach also explained why he did not call-up South Africa-based midfielder Luciano Matsoso.
“He is no longer playing in the premier league, but is with a team in the ABC Motsepe League which is a lower division. So we need time to monitor him and unfortunately, we don’t have that time at the moment.
“But overall, I have confidence in my team and I believe they can and will do the job and make this nation proud.”
Although Lesotho have already lost their two opening qualifiers away to Ethiopia and at home against group-leaders, Algeria, Maliehe believes the team could still qualify for the tournament to be held in Gabon as one of the two best runners-up, provided they do well in their remaining games.
There are 13 groups, 12 with four teams and one with three teams (plus the host nation which play friendlies with the three teams). The group winners and two best overall runners-up will qualify for the tournament. When determining the best runners-up, the group of the host nation (where only matches between three teams are counted for the standings) is not considered, as well as any group where only three teams are left due to withdrawal of one team.
Winless Lesotho are bottom of Group J after losing their two matches, while Algeria are top on six points, Ethiopia are second on four after one win and one draw and Seychelles are third with one draw and one loss.
Goalkeepers: Daniel Jousse (LCS), Liteboho Mokhehle (Lioli).
Defenders: Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepe, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo (all Lioli), Nkesi Rankhasa (Matlama), Spiriting Malefane (Bantu).
Midfielders: Jerry Kamela, Tšoanelo Koetle (both Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Kefuoe Mahula, Jane Thabantšo (both Matlama).
Strikers: Motlalepula Chabeli, Thabiso Brown (both Kick4Life), Lehlomela Ramabele (Likhopo), Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli).