The Lesotho senior national team coach, Veselin Jelusic has included several players from the National Under-20 team, Makoanyane XI, in his Likuena provisional squad that resumed training on Monday.
Jelusic and his charges will be preparing for two international friendlies set to take place in September during the FIFA break (19-27 September 2022).
Initially, the break was to be used for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers which were scheduled to see Likuena face Zambia in back-to-back clashes.
Both teams would be vying for the top two spot to qualify for the 2023 AFCON finals to take place in Ivory Coast.
However, those fixtures were rescheduled by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a statement to member associations. CAF said this was done to allow teams qualified for World Cup to prepare.
“This was necessitated by the Executive Committee’s commitment to make a room for the African nations that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November/ December 2022 to prepare adequately,” read the statement.
“Consequently, the September 2022 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire match day three and match day four qualifiers have been moved to 20-28 March 2023. Match day five will now be on 12-20 June 2023 while match day six will be played on 4-12 September 2023,” it added.
According to Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) media officer, Mikia Kalati, it was the change of dates that allowed the coach to assess other players.
“Likuena was to play Zambia during this coming FIFA break but that is no longer the case since the fixtures have been rescheduled, but this has given coach Jelusic time to assess young players for the potential of future call-ups,” Kalati said.
The team is expected to show up for training sessions on flexible schedules because clubs are currently in preseason preparations.
“The coach had a meeting with Premier League and A-Division coaches to discuss and find ways in which all parties can work together even after the respective leagues start and they agreed on a morning and after schedule to accommodate all players in the squad,” he said.
Kalati stated that the two friendly games are yet to be officially confirmed after the countries have agreed.
The list of Makoanyane XI players invited to train with the senior team includes Tumeliso Ratsiu from Kick4life and Molefi Kulehile from the B-Division side, ACTIP FC from Mafeteng.
Others are Motlatsi Sebapala and Tlotliso Mapola, who were invited for previous Likuena training programmes.
The experienced Serbian Gaffer has also invited the Swallows duo of Tanki Tsibela and Motsoane Lebaka alongside Kick4Life Moalosi Lebeko.
Lebeko, however, will not be able to link up with the senior national team due to school commitments and injuries respectively.
They are all part of the Makoanyane XI squad that is fine-tuning its preparations for the 2022 edition of the COSAFA Under-20 Championship.
Likuena provisional squad:
Ngaka Lenka, Shali Lekhotla, Motlomelo Mkhwanazi, Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepe, Rethabile Rasethuntsa, Rethabile Senkoto, Tsiame Ramabele, Lehlohonolo Lenka, Motsoane Lebaka, Moalosi Lebeko, Tlotliso Mapola.