Lesotho look to show their rich potential in Eswatini

Lesotho’s Under-20 side have excelled in the past having qualified for the African Youth Championships in 2011 and were also finalists in the COSAFA Under-20 competition as recently as 2017.

They are a team packed with potential but will want to make up for a poor outing in their last showing at the regional competition in 2020, when they lost all three matches, conceding 12 goals in the process.

They will head to the TotalEnergies AFCON U20 Egypt 2023 | COSAFA Qualifier in Eswatini from October 7-16 believing they can put in a much-improved display as they take on Angola in their opener on October 8. That will be followed by Group B games against Seychelles and Mozambique.

The top side in each pool advances to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up, and the two finalists will appear at the TotalEnergies AFCON U20 Egypt 2023 early next year.

That competition in turn is the qualification route for the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia, where the leading four sides will head to Asia.

Lesotho have certainly proved competitive. They narrowly missed out on the knockout stages in the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships after two wins and a loss in the pool phase meant they finished second in their group.

But they did much better in 2017, topping Group C and beating East African guest nation Uganda in the semifinals, before narrowly going down 2-1 to South Africa in the decider.

They found the going tougher in 2018 when they managed just a point from their three games after losses to Zimbabwe and Botswana, having opened with a draw against Angola.

It was the same story in 2019 as losses to Madagascar (3-0) and South Africa (4-0) came either side of a 2-2 draw with Mauritius.

Lesotho have also made the final of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships before, in 2005, when they lost 1-0 to Madagascar.

They are a nation that often punches above their weight and also finished second in the 1990 COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship, as well as third (1995, 1999) and fourth (2003).

Lesotho also reached the quarterfinals of the Africa Under-20 Championship in 1989, to go with their group stages exits in 2005 and 2011.

1999 – Third
2000 – Quarterfinals
2001 – Group stages
2002 – Group stages
2003 – Fourth
2004 – Group stages
2005 – Runners-up
2006 – Group stages
2007 – Group stages
2008 – Group stages
2009 – Group stages
2010 – Group stages
2011 – Group stages
2013 – Group stages
2016 – Group stages
2017 – Runners-up
2018 – Group stages
2019 – Group stages
2020 – Group stages