Lesotho head coach Lehloenya Nkhasi has announced his final squad for the upcoming COSAFA Women’s Championship scheduled for Nelson Mandela Bay from November 3-14.
Lesotho are making a return to the regional tourney after missing last year’s edition and will begin their campaign against 2019 finalists Zambia, who lost 1-0 to South Africa in the decider.
Nkhasi admitted that his team will have to dig deep to make it past the group stage, as both their opponents from Group B, which also includes Malawi, are very experienced campaigners.
The group winners will qualify for the semi-finals along with best-placed runner-up from the three pools.
“Our preparations have gone very well thus far, apart from minor injuries to some of our players because of the long layoff we had due to Covid-19,” Nkhasi said.
“We have had to prepare the players mentally, physical and also tactically. It was a bit of a challenge because of the long break, but we still have a few days to fine-tune our preparations before the tournament starts.
“I think we have selected the best players available to us going into the tournament and we will go there to do the best we can without putting the girls under any pressure.”
Nkhasi, who was recently appointed coach of the Lesotho after leading LDF Ladies to their third successive Women’s Super League title, feels he has a good balance of youth and experience in his squad.
“I think we have picked a balanced team, it’s a mixture of young and experienced players. We have made sure that we have players that are versatile and can play in different position in case we have injuries,” he said.
“We are in a very tough group. We all know the story of Zambia, who were beaten by South Africa in the final last year. Malawi made it to the semi-finals and they are both good teams.
“We are also a good team and ready for them. I think we are a closed chapter on them and pressure will be on them based on how they performed the previous year. Zambia has a lot of experienced players and some of them playing abroad, the same with Malawi.
“We also have players plying their trade in the USA and South Africa, the crafters of our team. We will take it one game at a time and I don’t want to put my players under any pressure, but we will fight,” he said.
Goalkeepers: Thuto Maifo (Metheo Ladies-RSA), Boitumelo Nkeane (Grasslands Ladies-RSA).
Defenders: Mosili Motšoeneng (Bloemfontein Celtic-RSA), Montšeng Matete (Semunye Ladies-RSA), Mamoruti Ntsiki, Lerato Nkheme, Tšoanelo Leboka, Ntsatsi Khakanyo (all LDF Ladies).
Midfielders: Boitumelo Rabale (Lewis and Clark College-USA), Maseriti Mohloho, Palesa Mpeta, Ntsabeng Pelea, Mamosoabi Monese, Mosele Pita (all LDF Ladies).
Forwards: Senate Letsie (Lewis and Clark Community College), Litšeoane Maloro (Bloemfontein Celtic), Kholu Lebakeng, Phuzile Molefe, Nthabaleng Potsane (all LDF Ladies).
By Mikia Kalati