The National Under-20 team Makoanyane XI will begin their COSAFA Championship campaign against Mozambique at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Makoanyane XI head to the tournament under the leadership of Bafokeng Mohapi, who replaced Bob Mafoso as the head coach earlier this year. Lesotho is in Group A along with hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe in this year’s edition of the tournament, which is also the zonal qualifier for the AFCON 2021 tournament to be staged in Mauritania.

Mohapi stated that it’s important for his side to hit the ground running when they open their campaign against the Young Black Mambas on Thursday.

“It’s very important for us to have a good start to the tournament when we play Mozambique in the first game on Thursday. It will give the boys courage to believe in themselves,” Mohapi said.

“We also want to qualify for AFCON, which is also a motivation to the team, as we are here to compete and not just add numbers. Getting a win against Mozambique will boost the confidence of our players going into the next games against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.”

Makoanyane XI were eliminated in the group stage in last year’s tournament held in Zambia, but Mohapi is adamant of emulating Leslie Notsi side of 2017 by going all the way to the final.

The top team in each pool will advance to the semi-finals, as well as the best-placed runner-up.

Makoanyane XI squad

Goalkeepers: Mosoeu Seahlolo (LCS) Utloana Leoma (Tsenola United).

Defenders: Shali Lekhotla (Lifofane), Tebello Mosoeu (Likhopo), Thapelo Mohale (Kick4life), Siyabonga Monyaka (Majantja), Thapelo Lebesa (Limkokwing).

Midfielders: Teboho Letsema (Ketane), Tsele Rankhasa (Lioli), Katiso Selili (Bantu), Katleho Rapuleng (Rydo), Kananelo Rapuleng ( Rydo), Kananelo Teneso (LCS), Mzimasi Tyhali (Rydo, Mohami Percy Mohami (LCS), Bakuena Ramakatsa (Kick4life Juniors).

Forwards: Mxolisi Mothae (Likhopo), Hlomelang Lebina (LCS), Tumeliso Ratsiu Kick4life Juniors), Lebusetsa Mofokeng (Linare).