US-based striker gets Likuena call-up
…Jane Tšotleho,22, arrives tomorrow for Lesotho’s crucial Afcon clash against Liberia at Setsoto next week
Highly-rated Lesotho-born striker, Jane Tšotleho, who has been based in America for the past nine years, arrives in the country tomorrow to join the national football team, Likuena, ahead of next weekend’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Liberia.
Likuena narrowly lost 1-0 in last Sunday’s first leg of the second round qualifier played at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
The Liberians now only need a draw to advance to the next stage of the continental competition, but Likuena are not taking any chances for the 31 May reverse fixture set for Setsoto stadium.
Tšotleho (22), who recently signed a professional contract with Wilmington Hammerheads FC, which is based in North Carolina and competes in the American third-tier league, on Friday told the Sunday Express from his US base that he was excited at the prospects of donning the Likuena colours.
“I have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time and I’m surprised it did not happen a bit earlier,” Tšotleho said.
The forward, who last played for his country at under-15 level in a team coached by the late Bishop Molatoli, said he was confident Likuena would win the battle against Liberia, and advance to the next stage of the qualifiers.
“I know it won’t be easy because I have been away for a very long time and will have to get used to my teammates. But I’m positive of good results against Liberia; we can do it and beat Liberia at home because the whole nation will be behind us.”
Asked what position he was comfortable in, Tšotleho told the Sunday Express he could play in any of the attacking slots.
“I have done pretty well since I came here when I was only 13 years old. I believe I have developed so much as a player over the years and I think I’m ready for the big stage and help my country overcome Liberia,” said Tšotleho.
Former Likuena and Arsenal goalkeeper, Thabane Sutu, who lured the forward to the US, told the Sunday Express the player was more than ready for Likuena.
“The boy is more than ready; he is a typical, old-fashioned winger, very quick and can beat defenders in a one-on-one situation,” Sutu said.
The former Likuena goal-minder said he was excited Tšotleho had finally received a call to play for his country.
“What is good about him is he is very versatile and can be played in all the attacking positions, as he also has a powerful shot and is a regular goal-scorer at his club.
“We will see how he handles the pressure, but I know he is a confident lad and will relish the big stage.”
The Lesotho Football Association secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, on Friday also confirmed Tšotleho would be flying from his US base today.
“He will leave the US on Sunday and arrive at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa on Monday, where he is expected to travel with Makoanyane XI to Lesotho on their return from Angola,” Mohapi said.