Mehalalitoe coach-Lehloenya Nkhasi on Wednesday announced his final squad for the upcoming COSAFA Women’s Championship scheduled for Port Elizabeth from November 3-14.

Lesotho are making a return to the regional tourney after missing last year’s edition in Nelson  Mandela Bay and will begin their campaign against 2019 finalist-Zambia, who lost to South Africa in the final.

Nkhasi admitted that his team will have to dig deep to make it past the group stage, as both their opponents from Pool B in Malawi and Zambia are very experienced campaigners.

The Group winners from each pool will qualify for the semi-finals along with best runner-up from the three groups.

“Our preparations have gone very well thus far apart from minor injuries to some of our players because of the long layoff we had due to Covid-19,” Nkhasi told a press briefing.

“We have had to prepare the players mentally, physical and also tactical. It was a bit of a challenge because of the long break, but we still have a few days to fine tune our preparations before the tournament starts.

“I think we have selected the best players available to us going into the tournament and we will go there to do the best we can without putting the girls under any pressure.”

Nkhasi, who recently took over the reins as the new Mehalalitoe coach after leading LDF Ladies to their third Women’s Super League title in a row, is confident experienced campaigners such as Boitumelo “Queen” Rabale and Litšeoane Maloro, will come to the party to help the team do well in Port Elizabeth.

“I think we have picked a balanced team, it’s a mixture of young and experienced players. We have made sure that we have players that are versatile and can play in different position in case we have injuries,” said the Lesotho coach.

“We are in a very tough group. We all know the story of Zambia, who were beaten by South Africa in the final last year. Malawi made it to the semi-finals and are both good teams.

“We are also a good team and ready for them. I think we are a closed chapter on them and pressure will be on them based on how they performed the previous year. Zambia has a lot of experienced players and some of them playing abroad as well as Malawi. We also have players plying their trade in the USA and South Africa, the crafters of our team. We will take it one game and I don’t want to put my players under any pressure, but we will fight,” he said.

Lesotho final squad:

Goalkeepers: Thuto Maifo (Metheo Ladies-RSA), Boitumelo Nkeane (Grasslands Ladies-RSA).

Defenders: Mosili Motšoeneng (Bloemfontein Celtic), Montšeng Matete (Semunye Ladies-RSA), Mamoruti Ntsiki (LDF Ladies), Lerato Nkheme (LDF Ladies), Tšoanelo Leboka (LDF Ladies), Ntsatsi Khakanyo (LDF Ladies).

Midfielders: Boitumelo Rabale (Lewis and Clark College-USA), Maseriti Mohloho (LDF Ladies), Palesa Mpeta (LDF Ladies), Ntsabeng Pelea (LDF Ladies), Mamosoabi Monese (LDF Ladies), Mosele Pita (LDF Ladies).

Forwards: Senate Letsie (Lewis and Clark Community College), Litšeoane Maloro (Bloemfontein Celtic), Kholu Lebakeng (LDF Ladies), Phuzile Molefe (LDF Ladies), Nthabaleng Potsane.