Likuena goalkeeper Likano Mphuthi is delighted to be back in the picture for the national team after a long spell out on the side-lines with a knee injury.

Mphuthi has been named in the Leslie Notši’s Likuena squad to face Ethiopia in back-to-back 2022 World Cup preliminary qualifiers.

The 29-year old, who plays his club football for LDF, admitted that he has to dig deep to reclaim his place as Likuena first choice goalkeeper having missed a lot of football since undergoing  knee surgery in February.

“I feel that I have a big challenge ahead of me to get back to the level where I was before the injury setback,” Mphuthi told the LeFA Media.

“It’s been a long journey back to full fitness and the team has also been doing well in my absence.”

Mphuthi, who helped Likuena clinch bronze medal at the 2018 edition of the COSAFA Cup, has also praised his competitor in Bantu’s Thabiso Lichaba, who has since become the national team first choice goalkeeper after Sam Ketsekile hanged his gloves.

“Competition is always good in football and it is a motivation for me to go and extra mile to get my place back in the national team starting line-up,” the LDF goalkeeper said.

“I know that the other goalkeepers have done well in my absence, but I’m happy to be back in action and playing football again.

“I have continued to support the team even when I was injured and was able to travel to Dobsonville to watch the African Nations Championship (CHAN) match against South Africa.

“It was a good feeling seeing the team getting a very good win against Bafana Bafana and I hope we can maintain those standards going forward,” he said.