Likuena camp brimming with confidence ahead of COSAFA
The Likuena camp is brimming with confidence after six of the players selected by caretaker coach Leslie Notsi for the upcoming Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup bagged individual accolades at the 2022/23 Vodacom Premier League Awards.
Bantu midfielder Thabo Lesaoana was the big winner on Friday night bagging three awards as he was named the Vodacom Premier League Player of the Season, Players Player of the Season as well as the Midfielder of the Season.
The 29-year-old has been thrown a Likuena lifeline by the new technical team following an impressive 2022/23 campaign, where he helped Bantu win a double to the Vodacom Premier League and the People’s Cup.
He was handed his Likuena debut by former Likuena coach Thabo Senong against Benin in 2020, during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Veteran forward Jane Thabantṧo, who holds the record of the fastest goal in the history of COSAFA Cup, was among the winners for the second successive year, taking home the Golden boot award after finishing the campaign as the joint top goal-scorer.
He shared the top goal-scorer accolade with 21-year-old LCS striker-Hlomelang Lebina after each player scored 15-goals at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Thabantšo was in the previous campaign named the Midfielder of the Season having helped Matlama clinch their historic 11th league title and scoring 13 goals.
Both forwards have been named in the final squad for the regional tournament scheduled for Durban from July 5-16, where Lebina will be playing his first international competition with Likuena.
Another LCS youngster, Mohlomi Makhetha, who was exceptional in his first season with the Correctional Service side, walked away with the Young Player of the Season Award.
The 22-year-old won his first cap for the senior national team in the recent Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, where he was partnered alongside Kopano Tseka in the heart of the defense.
The goalkeeper of the season award went to Sekhoane Moerane, who has been Likuena first choice goalkeeper since making his debut against Benin late in 2020.
The 25-year-old goal-minder played a key role as LMPS finished the campaign among the top four teams in the league for the first time in a while and conceded just 16 goals throughout the 2022/23 season.
Veteran defender Motlomelo Mkwanazi bagged the Defender of the Season Award having led A Matšo Matebele to the double of the League title as well as the People’s Cup.
Not only was he rock solid in defense for the league champions, but the Bantu captain was also the highest scoring defender in the league this past season.