Senong sets sights on first COSAFA campaign with Lesotho
LESOTHO’S senior national men’s soccer team coach Thabo Senong is looking forward to his first COSAFA tournament after last year’s edition of the regional tournament was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Pimville born coach, who was appointed Lesotho coach in 2019, has enjoyed a lot of success coaching in the COSAFA tournaments having won four titles during his time working for the South African Football Association.
Senong led South Africa’s Amajita to back-to-back Under-20 Championships in 2017 and 2018 respectively and was also the assistant coach to Shakes Mashaba when Bafana Bafana were crowned COSAFA Cup champions in Namibia in 2016.
His first gold medal at the regional tournament came when he was the assistant coach to Mashaba in 2013 with Amajita beating Kenya 2-0 to clinch first prize.
“Looking at the current Likuena squad, we have witnessed some positive individual performances and I’m certain that the 2021 COSAFA Cup will be a good tournament for us if we perform well collectively,” Senong said.
“The COSAFA tournament is a good platform for the development of our players and to give them exposure. The tournament has laid promising careers for the likes of Motebang Sera, Tumelo Khutlang and Nkoto Masoabi.
“Personally, the tournament has maximised my coaching career when I was coaching the South African national teams. The greatest ambition is to write our own positive story with the Lesotho team in 2021. Anything is possible in football and we just need the right characters, chemistry and a strong winning mentality in our team.”
Lesotho reached the semi-finals of the last three editions of the COSAFA Cup including winning bronze in Polokwane in 2018, but Senong believes his side has what it takes to set new records with the team which last played in the finals 21 years ago.
“We have a lot of positives to take from the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Nigeria. We gave six new caps to young players in the two matches. Four of them earned their first caps against Sierra Leone at home and two others against Nigeria in Lagos.
“For me, the future looks good. I think we have built a very good group to play at the COSAFA Cup and a very good group that can play in the next AFCON qualifiers,” Senong said. -LeFA