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Makoanyane XI to face Angola



MASERU – Lesotho’s national Under-20 team, Makoanyane XI, will face Angola on Saturday in their opening game of the COSAFA Under-20 Championship which will be held in Eswatini.
This will be the first time that Eswatini will be hosting the championship.

Makoanyane XI left the country yesterday and will compete alongside Angola, Seychelles and Mozambique in Group B at the regional two-week showpiece which will also serve as COSAFA’s qualifiers for the 2023 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON U20) in Egypt.

Lesotho makes a return to the competition after missing last year’s edition.

Speaking on Monday before the team’s departure, the team’s head coach, Bafokeng Mohapi, told reporters that their recent friendly games against the University of Johannesburg and Botswana had allowed his side to work on certain areas heading into the tournament.

Mohapi said the remaining days before Saturday’s kick-off would be dedicated to working on scoring goals.

Worryingly, Mohapi also admitted that the players are not at their peak in terms of physical fitness, but said there is not enough time to work on that aspect.

“These games we just played showed us where we need to fix,” the Lesotho coach said.

“If you look at Botswana, they scored from set-pieces, we struggled a lot with long balls and we need to work on that. In these last days we will be looking at scoring because there is no time to work on strength.”

Mohapi’s team is a new one and many of the players he has called up will be at the tournament for the first time.

Lesotho will be looking to make up for a poor outing in their last appearance in 2020 when the team lost all three matches and conceded 12 goals in the process.

Makoanyane XI can draw inspiration from their 2017 run when Lesotho reached the final before falling to South Africa.

“Our team does not have experience, last year we did not enter competitions; we thought that the players who played (for the Under-20 national team) in 2020 would play last year but they didn’t,” Mohapi said.

“Most of the players are new in the tournament which means we don’t know how they will react but we are trying to hold sessions with them mentally so that they are able to adjust.”

Mohapi has picked a young side which he hopes will rise to the occasion.

“We have a few (players) that played last year but they are 17 (years-old) and this is an Under-20 tournament. We know every team is going to come with everything, but I think other countries have similar challenges as us,” Mohapi said.

The top side from each of the three groups will advance to the semi-finals along with the best-placed runner-up. The two finalists will appear at the AFCON U20 Egypt 2023, early next year.
Makoanyane XI Squad for the COSAFA U20 Championship:

Katiso Tsoamotse, Maqebo Temana, Tšepo Mokhanya

Moalosi Lebeko, Khosimotse Theko, Bakuena Monaheng, Bongani Feketho, Lehlohonolo Leemisa, Tlotliso Mapola

Reabetsoe Linono, Tanki Tsibela, Neo Maieane, Relebohile Malefane, Lintle Chocholo, Bataung Molefi

Tumeliso Ratšiu, Tšepo Kome, Molefi Kolehile, Limpho Ralesupi

Tlalane Phahla

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