Likuena coach Thabo Senong has named his 29-man provisional squad for the back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin scheduled for March.

In-form LDF striker Thabang Rabi headlines a list of new faces in the team, which also includes LCS duo of Thabang Malane and Refiloe Mothae , Tieho Ntulo from Lioli and Monyatheli Ntobo, who has been impressive for LMPS.

The Likuena coach has also recalled Matlama goalkeeper Monaheng Ramalefane, American based Lesia Thetsane and Luciano Matsoso, who recently joined Lioli after a frustrating spell at Black Leopards.

Senong admitted that it was difficult for his technical team to come up with the 29-man provisional squad for the two games against Benin, but is adamant the selected players will come to the party to keep Likuena’s dream of qualifying for the continental showpiece alive.

“Nigeria is at the top of the group with six points followed by Benin with three and we are third with a point while Sierra Leone is fourth with a point as well. Obviously it’s important that in our next matches we collect the needed points that will keep us on the road to qualify,” Senong said.

“We know it’s not going to be easy because we will be playing against a top side in Benin and we are playing the first leg away while the second leg will be here at home.”

The Likuena coach stated that they have already made an assessment of Benin and is confident they have picked the right players for the task.

“It was not easy to select the team and as the coaching staff, we felt it’s better to have a provisional squad and it was also important to increase the list and have a big pool of players,” the Likuena mentor stated.

“It gives us many possibilities and a chance to have different combinations as we build our team. We also had to look at the opposition analysis because we are not playing football in a vacuum, we are not playing alone, but we will be playing against another team that is well prepared.

“In our analysis of the opponents and the research on Benin, we realised that we had to make adjustments here and there. Benin is an extremely athletic team and they rely a lot on speed. In our goal analysis, we have looked at their previous five games, they have conceded nine and scored five.

“If you look at Likuena equally, in our past five games, we have also scored five goals like Benin, but have conceded seven goals and there is a difference of two goals. It has given us a bit of information about what we need to fix and improve as the national team,” he said.

Likuena provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Ntsane Lichaba (Bantu) Sekhoane Moerane (LMPS), Monaheng Ramalefane (Matlama).
Defenders: Basia Makepe (LMPS), Nkau Lerotholi (LMPS FC) Kopano Tseka (LCS), Lisema Lebokollane (Matlama) , Motlomelo Mkhwanazi (Bantu), Bokang Sello (Bantu), Lesia Thetsane (Columbia College) and Thabang Malane (LCS).
Midfielders: Refiloe Mothae (LCS), Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Thabo Matšoele (Liphakoe), Tšepo Toloane (LDF), Tieho Ntulo (Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu) Lehlohonolo Fothoane (Bantu), Tšoarelo Bereng (Black Leopards), Jane Thabantšo – (Matlama) Litšepe Marabe (Bantu FC) Tumelo Khutlang  (Black Leopards) Luciano Matsoso (Lioli).
Forwards: Mokone Marabe (Bantu), Monyatheli Ntobo (LMPS ), Thabang Rabi (LDF), Nkoto Masoabi (Real Kings) FC, Motebang Sera (Bloemfontein Celtics), Tšeliso Botsane (Kick4Life).