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US based players must wait-Senong

Moorosi Tsiane

LIKUENA coach Thabo Senong says Lesotho internationals plying their trade in the United States of America should wait for their chance to represent the country.

Senong says if he were to bring in the US based players into the squad, the team would need a long time to gel.

Senong’s charges are preparing for two crucial Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Nigeria respectively. They face Sierra Leone on Wednesday in Freetown before they welcome the Super Eagles of Nigeria at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.

Likuena fly out to Sierra Leone from OR Tambo today on the back of a 2-0 loss to TS Galaxy in South Africa on Wednesday.

Likuena has struggled to score and Senong says US based attackers Napo Matsoso and Tšotleho Jane who play for Louisville City in the United Soccer League (USL) will have their time.

Both players have been enjoying good runs helping the side come fourth in their 18-team league.

“The US based boys will get their chance when we have enough time to prepare to allow them to gel with the team,” Senong said.

“The current camp is not long enough to integrate many new players. The US based players are not always available as you might think, their football programme is combined with academic studies.  Lesia (Thetsane) has even explained to me that he won’t be available due to his study schedules.”

However, Senong says they are leaving no stone unturned as they want to ensure that their players are ready for the upcoming matches.

Senong said they had an analyst who helped to analyse their team during the TS Galaxy friendly.

“In my opinion there is a lot of progress. We played TS Galaxy on Wednesday and we recruited an analyst to analyse our game and give us feedback so that we can build on it going into the two matches.

“We lost 2-0 but our performance was not bad. However, we lack consistency in applying the right actions in a competitive match. TS Galaxy are a quality team with CAF confederations league experience. Their coach, Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela was also impressed by a few individuals. Every player played and it gives us the right information about our team.”

While some players have shown signs of fatigue, Senong says they have a good recovery plan.

“We have a good recovery plan. We have recruited two masseurs to massage the players.”

The former Bafana Bafana assistant coach also defended his selection of some fringe players in his team.

“The call-ups are on merit and they are in relation to their club form, their quality, experience in playing continental football and their understanding of our style of play. The door is open for every player in the Likuena setup, our challenge is the limited time that we have to improve the team’s cohesion and tactical relationships.

“Tumelo Khutlang has been with the team in the past three months, he is very talented and he needs our support, I believe in him, he is a talented individual who can change a game for us,” Senong said.

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