Lesotho seek first knockout round place

Best finish: Group Stages (2002, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022)
FIFA Ranking: 168
CAF Ranking: 25
Last five tournaments:
2018 – Group Stage
2019 – Did not enter
2020 – Group Stage
2021 – Did not enter
2022 – Group Stage

Lesotho have been somewhat regular competitors at the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championships since the first tournament played in 2002, though they did not take part in 2019 or 2021.

They did not get off to the best of starts in their maiden competition in 2002 with a 15-0 defeat in their opener to hosts Zimbabwe, which was followed by a 3-0 loss to Malawi and a 3-1 defeat to Zambia.

It did not get much better in 2006 as they lost 9-0 to South Africa and 3-0 to Malawi in a three-team group.

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.

After skipping 2019, the side was back in action in 2020 but again lost both their matches in a three-team pool as they went down 8-0 to Zambia and 9-0 to Malawi.

They returned in 2022 after skipping a year and despite winning their first game 3-0 against Eswatini, went on to lose the next two to Zambia (7-0) and Namibia (2-0).

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

Their most recent attempt to make the finals was in 2018 when they defeated Eswatini 3-1 on aggregate in the first round of qualifying, but then lost 7-0 on aggregate to South Africa in the next stage.

They did not enter the qualifiers for the 2022 tournament in what has been a fallow period for the women’s team, but they are back in competition and will be full of hope that there are brighter days ahead.