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Koetle kicked out of Likuena squad




Luciah Phahla


Lesotho’s preparations for Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Seychelles have been rocked by the expulsion of Lioli midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle from the team.

Koetle was released from the squad on Tuesday night after a disagreement over money.

The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) said Koetle was ousted for “instigating rebellious conduct within the (team)”.

Lefa said “Mr Koetle was requesting allowances that are not within the Lesotho Football Association’s structure”.

“He did not travel with the team. We decided to let him go because he could not accept the team allowances like everybody,” Lefa general secretary Mokhosi Mohapi said yesterday.

“His issue will be dealt with upon the arrival of the team from Seychelles, and only then can we make decisions,” Mohapi added.

Koetle was replaced in the squad by Matlama’s Phafa Tšosane.

The development is a major blow to Likuena’s plans. Koetle, arguably Lesotho’s best performer over the past year, was expected to start in central midfield against Seychelles.

Speaking on Tuesday, Lesotho caretaker boss Moses Maliehe had said he was gunning for two wins from Likuena’s upcoming double-header of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Seychelles.

Maliehe takes charge of the national side for first time since his appointment last November when Likuena face the island nation at the Stade Linite in Mahe on Saturday.

Lesotho then hosts Seychelles next Tuesday afternoon at Setsoto Stadium and, speaking on Tuesday, Maliehe was upbeat about his new-look team’s prospects.

“Like any country competing in this tournament our aim is to win both games, starting with this one away from home,” Maliehe told thepost. “We have material to win this game.”

Lesotho is bottom of Group J after losses to Ethiopia and Algeria in its first two games.

However, despite chances of progression being slim, Maliehe vowed his charges go into the games against Seychelles with determination and a “winning spirit”.

“We are not training and working hard for nothing,” Maliehe added.

“It is always difficult playing away from home, (But) if you look at our squad, it’s dominated by new players and they are all determined to come with a victory and to also win our home game on Tuesday when we host Seychelles,” he said.

Maliehe said his side had been unable to play any preparation friendlies after last week’s proposed trip to Swaziland was called off. But, he did not see this as a problem.

“We have not been able to play any friendly match. We have only been practising and working hard. I don’t think we will play any friendly, our training sessions went well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maliehe has named Lioli defender Basia Makepe as the new Lesotho captain, replacing Nkau Lerotholi. The former Under-20 skipper is likely to be partnered by club-mate Kopano Tseka in the centre of Likuena’s defence.

The team was also boosted by the arrival of United States based attacker Tšotleho Jane on Monday.  Jane joins Lehlomela Ramabele, Tumelo Khutlang, Thabiso Brown and Motlalepula Chabeli as Likuena’s options for a starting berth upfront.

Saturday will be the first time Lesotho and Seychelles meet in an international match.

Like Lesotho, Seychelles has never qualified for the AFCON. They played to a draw with Ethiopia in their last qualifier after being hammered 4-0 by Group J leaders Algeria in their opener.

Lesotho, ranked 153rd in the world, is placed 38 places higher than Seychelles in the FIFA rankings and the duet of games over the coming week is crucial if Likuena are to make any noise in Group J.

Likuena Squad

Goalkeepers: Daniel Jousse (Lesotho Correctional Service) Liteboho Mokhehle (Lioli)

Defenders: Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepe, Bokang Sello, Mafa Moremoholo (Lioli), Nkesi Rankhasa (Matlama) Sepiriti Malefane (Bantu)

Midfielders: Jerry Kamela (Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Jane ThabaNtšo, Kefuoe Mahula, Phafa Tšosane (Matlama)

Strikers: Lehlomela Ramabele (Likhopo), Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli), Thabiso Brown and Motlalepula Chabeli (Kick4Life), Tšotleho Jane (Richmond Kickers, US)

Group J standings

1. Algeria 2 2 0 0 7 1 6 6
2. Ethiopia 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 4
3. Seychelles 2 0 1 1 1 5 -4 1
4. Lesotho 2 0 0 2 2 5 -3 0



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