Lesotho announce coaching changes ahead of COSAFA showdown

The Lesotho Football Association has announced the appointed of Lehloenya Nkhasi as the new head coach of the senior women’s national team ahead of the upcoming COSAFA Women’s Championship to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from November 3-14.

Nkhasi comes with an impressive CV having won three successive Lesotho Women’s Super League titles with LDF Ladies and will be assisted by Moroesi Lazaro. They take over the reins from former Lesotho international Lire Phiri, who had been in charge of the team since May 2019.

Nkhasi welcomes the new challenge and is confident the experience gained coaching LDF Ladies team and winning three successive Lesotho Women’s Super League titles will be very helpful in his assignment.

“It’s an honour for me to be given such a big task to coach the women’s national team. I’m very happy and I also understand the responsibility that comes with it,” Nkhasi said.   “Time may not be on our side as far as the preparations for the tournament are concerned, but that should not be an excuse. We have to prepare the players for the task ahead and make them understand what it means to play for the national team.

“I have selected a group of players that I think are hungry to succeed and also have the experience to do better than in the previous tournament. They have to understand the importance of donning the national team colours and representing their country.”

Lesotho have been regular competitors at the COSAFA Women’s Championships since the first tournament played in 2002, though they did not take part in 2019.   They did not get off to the best of starts with a 15-0 defeat in their opener to hosts Zimbabwe, but performances have steadily improved since then, and they were close to semifinal qualification in 2011 when they beat Mozambique 3-2 but lost to Malawi in their play-off decider.

In 2017 they claimed a fine 2-1 win over Namibia in pool play, but lost to South Africa and Botswana, both by 3-0 scorelines.     They returned in 2018, but lost all three matches, going down to Zambia (2-0), Mozambique (2-1) and Central African guest nation Cameroon (6-0) to finish bottom of their pool.

The national team is currently positioned at number 137 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.

They played their first international in 1998 away in Mozambique and lost 3-0, and have yet to qualify for the African Women’s Championship.

Provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Thuto Maifo (Motheo Ladies), Boitumelo Nkeane (Grasslands Ladies), Sebolelo Mweza (LDF Ladies).

Defenders: Nkotso Mapota (Wits University), Mosili Motšoeneng (Bloemfontein Celtic), Phesolo Mafusi, Mamoruti Ntsiki, Ntsatsi Khakanyo, Tšoanelo Leboka, Lerato Kheme (all LDF).

Midfielders: Mosel Pita (LDF), Boitumelo Rabele (Lewis and Clark Community College, USA) Matšeliso Ntšasa (LDF), Mabulara Mosoeu (LDF), Lerato Toloane (Nigol Ladies), Ntšabeng Pelea (LDF), Palesa Mpeta (LDF), Maseriti Mohlolo (LDF), Bokang Matabane (LDF), Lerato Mphou (LDF), Molemo Mokhothu (Kick4Life).

Strikers: Litšeoane Maloro (Bloemfontein Celtic), Nteboheleng Mohoshela (Kick4Life), Nthabeleng Potsane (LDF), Kholu Lebakeng (LDF), Matšeliso Makutoane (Basetsana), Senate Letsie (Lewis and Clark Community College, USA), Phuzile Molefe (LDF), Puseletso Jobo (Rovers Ladies).

By Mikia Kalati