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Makoanyane 11 off to COSAFA

Chris Theko

The Lesotho National Under 20 soccer team coach Bafokeng Mohapi announced his final squad to compete at this year’s Confederations of Southern African Football (COSAFA) championship before setting off to South Africa for the tournament which began yesterday (December 03) and runs up to December 13.

The 19-man squad travelled to Port Elizarbeth, South Africa on Sunday. 

In an interview with this publication, Makoanyane 11 mentor said their preparations were largely spoiled by a number of challenges among them the players’ school engagements which had hindered their training sessions. 

“The preparations have not been easy due to the circumstances of Covid-19.  The players’ school commitments also meant we struggled to get all the players at once. At times we were forced to train in the afternoon only while the other thing was some of the players are not based in Maseru,” Mohapi said. 

The coach also mentioned that his ultimate goal with the group of players he has assembled going into the tournament, is to build a team for the future.

“They are generally a new team because the crop of players that competed in the tournament last year is no longer in the team.  But the aim this year is to build a team which will be able to compete for the next three years,” he added. 

Makoanyane 11 began their campaign against Mozambique yesterday and is set to face off with South Africa on 6th.  Their last Group-A match will be against Zimbabwe on December 8th.

Last year the team failed to go past the group stages after losing 3-0 to Madagascar in their opener and drawing 2-all with Mauritius in the second match.  The last match saw them lose a hefty 4-0 to South Africa. 

Only the top teams in each pool and the best-paced runners-up will advance to the semi-finals.  The tournament will also be used to for the Under-20 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to take place in Mauritania in February and March 2021. 

The AFCON tournament will also in turn serve as qualifiers for the 2021 FIFA Under-20 World Cup scheduled for Indonesia from May 20 to June 12 June 2021.  The top four sides in the African tournament will be heading for the global showpiece.  ff

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