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Senong happy with COSAFA draw


Leemisa Thuseho

LIKUENA has been drawn in Group A of the COSAFA Cup along with hosts South Africa, Botswana and eSwatini.

The Thursday draw has been welcomed by coach Thabo Senong who this weekend called it “exciting”.

The draw was conducted on Thursday and the 12-team tournament will run from 7 to 18 July in Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizaberth.

The tournament is returning after the 2020 edition was cancelled on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senong acknowledged that Likuena was drawn against strong oppositions but said it would be a good challenge for his players to learn and get exposure. The exposure will help the team that he is trying to build for future tournaments like the AFCON and CHAN qualifiers.

“Looking at our group, you get two types of feelings, the first feeling is excitement that you are playing strong opponents while the second feeling is that we must be mindful of the strong and experienced sides,” Senong said.

“South Africa are the hosts and they are strong technically. eSwatini had a good AFCON run and they are physically strong. Botswana is mentally tough and tactically organised. The COSAFA Cup is a good platform for players to advertise themselves, get exposure and get scouted. For us, it’s a rebuilding phase. We are building a team for CHAN and AFCON qualifiers.”

This will be Senong’s first COSAFA tournament since taking over Likuena in 2019 and he said he was looking forward to it.

“We are looking forward to this tournament, we are looking forward to learning. We are bringing in new faces, young players hoping that they will compete and learn.”

Senong has already named his provisional squad for tournament and his team is expected to start its preparations tomorrow.

Defending champions Zambia are in Group B along with Malawi, Madagascar and Comoros. In Group C are guests Senegal along with Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia.

The top team from each group advances to the semi-finals. They will be joined in the last four by the best second-placed teams from the three groups.

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