Likuena coach Thabo Senong has named his final squad for the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations back-to-back matches against Benin to be played in Cotonou and Maseru respectively.
The double header was initially scheduled for March earlier this year, but had to be postponed after football activities were suspended due to the Corona virus.
Likuena started their qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw to Sierra Leone in Free town and went down 4-2 to the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the two opening matches played late last year.
Senong remains adamant that his side has a good chance of securing qualification for the continental showpiece despite tough competition from the three West African countries.
“For us as a team it has been an interesting period. We just completed our fourth week of training with the local based players. I want to thank the Association for the support they have given us throughout this period,” Senong told a press conference.
“I should also thank the coaching staff, physical trainers and our medical team. We cannot forget our Covid-19 Compliance Officer because it the first time working under these conditions, which are different to what we were used to.
“Everything we do now, we have to observe the Covid-19 protocols. It has not been an easy exercise, but I can safely say, with regard to what we wanted to achieve as far as building the fitness of the team, I can say, we are getting much, much better. The team is getting strong mentally and physically.
“The confidence is coming back and their level of fitness has also improved. We have to remember that these players had a long layoff of about 5-6 six months. We have to thank them because obviously it wasn’t easy for them as well.”
The Lesotho mentor also stated that his side will be without suspended star midfielder Hlompho Kalake for the first leg in Cotonou, but will be available for the reverse fixture in Maseru.
“Initially, we started with a 31-man squad involving four players playing outside the country and 27-playing locally. We have been working with the 27 that are playing here at home over the past four weeks and the objective was to improve their fitness and assess what they can give us,” added the Lesotho coach.
“Unfortunately, it always comes to a stage, where we have to cut the squad. Eventually, as the coaching staff, came with the final 21-men squad that will be traveling to Benin for the first leg match on the 14th of November.
“We only have one key player that has been excluded because he is serving suspension and that is Hlompho Kalake. He will not be traveling for the first leg due to suspension, but will rejoin us as soon as we return for the reverse fixture here in Maseru,” he said.
Likuena final squad to face Benin.
Goalkeepers: Ntsane Lichaba, Sekhoane Moerane
Defenders: Basia Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi, Motlomelo Mkhwanazi, Lisema Lebokollane, Bokang Sello, Thabang Malane, Thabo Matšoele.
Midfielders: Tumelo Ngatane, Tšepo Toloane, Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Litšepe Marabe, Jane Thabantšo, Jane Tšotleho, Tumelo Khutlang, Thabo Lesooana, Thabo Seakhoa.
Strikers: Motebang Sera, Tšepo Seturumane, Nkoto Masoabi.