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Kuenane goes under the knife



Luciah Phahla



Lioli goalkeeper Mohau Kuenane will undergo surgery on his left knee today in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Kuenane, who started last season as Lioli’s first choice stopper, was sidelined for much of the side’s successful 2015/16 campaign due to nagging knee problems.

The 31-year-old lost his first team place to Liteboho Mokhehle and Kananelo Makhooane who shared the stage as ‘Tse Nala’ won the Vodacom Premier League and Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8.

Speaking to thepost yesterday, Lioli communications and marketing manager Tšeliso Lerata said the club sought medical advice to resolve Kuenane’s fitness struggles.

He said the goalkeeper is expected to be out of action for at least two months.

“Mohau left the country on Monday for Bloemfontein where he will undergo knee surgery. If you remember, Mohau has been struggling with injury of late and I think last season he only played about two games at the beginning of the season then he was out with injury (for the rest of the season),” Lerata said.

“Kananelo and Liteboho have been playing ever since then. The initial estimated time (Kuenane) will be out is two or three months but you never know, it might be longer or even shorter,” he added.

Kuenane is one of Lioli’s longest tenured players and was instrumental in the club’s league victories in 2009, 2013 and 2015 before his struggles last season.

Nonetheless, Lerata said the champions are equipped to deal with the keeper’s injury blow.

Mokhehle, Makhooane and Nigerian import Newman Okpara will compete for Lioli’s number one jersey and Lerata lauded their quality.

He said the fact ‘Tse Nala’ won the league and cup double despite Kuenane playing only a handful of games illustrated the depth of the team’s goalkeeping department.

“Mohau is an international goalkeeper (but) so is Liteboho and Kananelo and we also have a foreign goalkeeper (Okpara) who was on the bench on Sunday against Sundawana (in the Alliance Winter Challenge),” he said.

Lerata continued: “(Okpara) is a very good goalkeeper, he has just not gotten a chance because the competition is high at the club. However, like I said, Mohau did not play last season and we still performed well. It shows the quality of goalkeepers we have. These goalkeepers did well for the club during Mohau’s absence so we are not panicking at all.”

Lerata also expressed confidence Mokhehle would have an injury-free 2016/17 campaign. In any case, Makhooane and Okpara are there to fill the goalkeeping void, he said.

Lerata hinted the Teyateyaneng giants are expecting big things from Okpara who joined Lioli at the beginning of last season but spent the campaign behind Mokhehle and Makhooane on the depth chart.

“It is true that Liteboho also does have injury concerns sometimes, but this goalkeeper (Okpara) that we have is very good,” Lerata enthused.

“He is very brave and he works really hard. You know when he came here and he was told that he will be competing against the best goalkeepers in the league he still insisted on signing (for Lioli) and said he will fight for his place. He is a very good goalkeeper.”

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