Lesotho name final squad for COSAFA Under-20 Championships

Recently appointed Lesotho coach Bob Mafoso has announced his final squad for the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships to be staged in Kitwe, Zambia from December 2-14.

Mafoso has replaced veteran mentor Leslie Notsi, having worked as the assistant coach in the 2017 edition of the tournament where Lesotho lost 2-1 to South Africa in the final.

Lesotho have been drawn in Group C and will open their campaign against Angola on December 2, before facing Zimbabwe three days later. They will take on Botswana in their final match.

“For me, getting such a huge responsibility shows growth in my career as a coach. I am very excited and looking forward to the tournament,” Mafoso said. “It’s a challenge for me to work harder, but our preparations for the tournament in Zambia have gone very well.

“We are in a tough group and will be under pressure to do well because our team played in the final in the previous year.”

Lesotho has six surviving members of their team that reached the final in the 2017 and Mafoso is confident their experience will be vital if his side is to have another successful campaign at the youth tournament.

“We have played a few friendly matches that we believe have helped the players understand each other better,” the Lesotho mentor stated.

“We want to do well at the COSAFA Cup and we will give our all in every match to make our country proud at the tournament,” he said.Lesotho 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 last year, topping Group C and beating East African guest nation Uganda in the semi-finals, before narrowly going down to South Africa in the decider.

Lesotho also made the final of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships in 2005 but lost 1-0 to Madagascar.

Lesotho squad:

Goalkeepers: Jessy Matsie, Retšelisitsoe Marake

Defenders: Liteboho Nkune, Tuntu Moroahae, Lekhooa Khoete, Solomon Lejaha, Shali Lekhotla

Midfielders: Relebohile Thulo, Bonang Mohapi, Keketso Lipholo,  Mzimukhulu Phantse, Batlang Mokhele, Tumelo Makha, Percy Mohani, Khemisi Maeza, Ts’okolo Nyamatane

Strikers: Sanele Phantse, Thaane Mokoena, Tšeliso Botsane

By Mikea Ntanda