Lesotho aim to make homeground advantage count

Lesotho have appeared in most of the COSAFA Under-17 Championships that have been played to date, though they did sit out three of the previous five tournaments but return as hosts in the Boys’ football competition at the Region 5 Games Maseru 2020.

They did not compete last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also skipped 2016 and 2017, but still have a rich history in competition in this age-group.

They will be hoping to make homeground advantage count when they feature at the Region 5 Games Maseru 2020, where they open their Group A campaign against Zambia on Tuesday.

They will also face-off against Zimbabwe (Dec. 2) in a difficult pool, before finishing the group stage against Eswatini (Dec. 4). Only the top two teams advance to the semifinals.

Lesotho were one of the original participants in the inaugural 1994 competition but bowed out in the pool stage. They claimed a 3-1 win over Botswana, but a draw with Zimbabwe (0-0) and a loss to Mozambique (0-1) was not enough to book a semifinal place.

They played just one match in 2001 after one of their pool opponents, Mozambique, were disqualified for fielding 10 over-age players, and that 3-0 loss to Zambia meant another pool stage exit.

Lesotho returned in 2002 and draws with Eswatini (0-0) and Botswana (2-2) were followed by a 4-0 loss to South Africa that ended their campaign.

The 2007 tournament involved a 5-0 loss to South Africa as well, but also a 1-0 win over Mauritius.    They did not return again until 2018, when they again exited at the first stage. They claimed an excellent 0-0 draw with South Africa but followed that up with losses to Zambia (0-1) and Mozambique (1-2).

The team found the going tough in 2019 when they lost all three games, going down to Comoros (0-1), Angola (1-3) and Mozambique (1-4).

Lesotho have never qualified for the continental or global finals at this age-group level.

Last five tournament finishes:
2016 –
Did not enter
2017 – Did not enter
2018 – Group Stages
2019 – Group Stages
2020 – Did not enter