It’s been over a year since Thabo Senong took over the reins as the Lesotho national team coach following a successful spell with the South African National under-20 team.
The 39-year-old headed to the Mountain Kingdom after leading Amajita to back-to-back FIFA-20 World Cups in South Korea and Poland respectively.
Senong, who is among the youngest national team coaches in the continent, admitted that the first six months into his new job were extremely difficult as games were coming thick and fast for Likuena.
“I’m extremely grateful and humbled to have been with the Lesotho Football Association and Lesotho football for 12 months now. It’s a good milestone for me and I hope it can last longer,” Senong said.
“But as you know that in football, a coach is as good as his or her last result. The first six months were extremely tough to adapt and function as I never had a chance to study the Lesotho Premier League. It was not easy for the players to accept me in the dressing room because I’m a foreign coach and I was bringing different ideas, but football is universal and its not played in a vacuum.
“We had to find common tactical agreements on the field and common behavioral agreements in the dressing room to help us be a better team. It worked out well because I’m not a dictator and I value the opinions of players, the staff and everyone around me.”
The Pimville born coach, who also worked as the assistant coach to Shakes Mashaba and Stuart Baxter with Bafana Bafana, stated that the congestion of international matches after his appointment made life very difficult for him as he had to play back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia.
“We had many international fixtures between September and November. We played seven matches, drew five and lost two matches. The second six months has been a productive period as I interacted with many coaches, physical trainers, medicals experts and players,” Likuena coach added.
“It was important for me to be in Lesotho during the football break as foreign coach working there. It helped me to have a good understanding of the dynamics, the language, the culture and sociology of the country.
“I have learnt a lot about the players, the culture and football in general. I’m really grateful to the players, my employers, LeFA staff, Technical Director, Likuena technical team, the Premier League, media and club coaches that have really made sure that I’m comfortable in my job as a foreign coach,” he said.