Maliehe names experienced squad for COSAFA Cup

Lesotho national team coach Moses Maliehe has named an experienced squad for the upcoming COSAFA Cup to be held in the Limpopo Province of South Africa from May 27-June 9.

The Lesotho squad includes Polish based Luciano Matsoso and Tshwarelo Bereng, who was previously in the books of Chippa United in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL). 

The two players will be playing at the regional tournament for the first time having recently earned their first caps for the Crocodiles.

Maliehe has also recalled experienced defenders in Nkau Lerotholi and Basia Makepe, who make a return to the national team after a self-imposed exile from international football.

Lerotholi was the captain of the Lesotho team at the 2015 edition of the tournament and was also a member of the Leslie Notši’s side that reached the semi-finals in Zambia in 2013.

Makepe on the other hand captained the team at the 2016 tournament in Namibia, where Maliehe made his debut as the Lesotho coach and took the team to the quarterfinals.

However, Maliehe will not be able to have the service of Cambodian based Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho, after his club, Phnom Penh Crown, refused to release him for the regional competition.

“We have all the players that we had planned to have in the team apart from Tšotleho, which is obviously a disappointment for us,” Maliehe said.

“His team was not willing to release him for the competition as it does not fall under the FIFA dates and we have made peace with that.”

The Lesotho mentor said he was looking at having continuity with the team as the regional competition gives them a chance to prepare for their September 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde.

Added Maliehe: “We will not be able to have friendly matches between the time we finish with the tournament and September as most of the players would be having their pre-season with their clubs.

“But we will go to the tournament and fight with what we have because the intention is to at least get to the final based on how well we have done in the previous two competitions.

“There are a number of players that will be playing at the tournament for the first time and it’s a chance for them to show what they can do going forward after a good season at club level,” he said.

The new faces in the team are the likes of Lebajoa Mosehlenyane, Lehlohonolo Fothoane and Monaheng Ramalefane and their previous experience in the tournament was with the Lesotho under-20 team.

Lesotho squad:

Goalkeepers: Likano Mphuthi, Sam Ketsekile, Monaheng Ramalefane.

Defenders: Nkau Lerotholi, Basia Makepe, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo and Kopano Tseka.

Midfielders: Tshwarelo Bereng, Hlompho Kalake, Mabuti Potloane, Kefuoe Mahula, Mosiuoa Boseka, Lebajoa Mosehlenyane, Tumelo Khutlang, Litšepe Marabe, Jane Thaba-Ntšo, Luciano Matsoso, Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Tsepo Toloane.

Strikers: Motebang Sera and Nkoto Masoabi.