Senong picks  squad for Benin

Senong picks squad for Benin

MASERU – Lesotho head coach Thabo Senong has announced a provisional 29-man squad for the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Benin in March.
Likuena will play Benin twice between March 23 and March 30.

The CAF brought forward the qualifying games because of its decision earlier this month to move the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon to January from June.
Senong has kept the core of the squad that faced Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the opening pair of Group L qualifiers last year.

The squad is not a final selection and, according to Senong, the number will be trimmed down to a manageable 19 or 20 players for travelling logistics closer to the back-to-back ties against Benin.
While there are some new additions to the team, Senong said the selection was based on current form as well as the character of each player, on and off the pitch.
Matlama goalkeeper, Monaheng Ramalefane, gets his first call-up since Senong took over last August in place of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) stopper Likano Mphuthi who has fallen down the pecking order.
Another new face is Lioli defensive midfielder Tieho Ntulo while Luciano Matsoso makes a return to the national team for the first time since he was dropped after the COSAFA Cup last July.

Senong said during the first four weeks of training Likuena’s technical staff will work with players three times a week to allow them to be with their respective clubs as the Econet Premier League continues.
South Africa-based players such as Motebang Sera and Tšoarelo Bereng, meanwhile, will not join their teammates until at least March 23 as they are first team regulars with their Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs.

Senong, however, said Likuena are in talks with the coaches of Black Leopards and Real Kings to see if they can release both Tumelo Khutlang and Masoabi Nkoto early as they are not playing regularly at their clubs.

“It is important for us in the next FIFA calendar to collect the needed points that will keep us on the road for us to qualify and we know it is not easy because we are playing against a very tough side which is Benin,” Senong said as he announced his squad.
“As the coaching team we talked and decided let’s start with a provisional team because we are playing in seven weeks’ time, so it is important to grow the number so that we have many possibilities and we can be able to look at different combinations,” he added.
Senong said two players – namely Nkau Lerotholi and Bokang Sello – are coming into the squad carrying injuries and they will be assessed by the team’s doctors.
During the preparations, Likuena will play friendly matches in Bloemfontein and camp will start on March 15 while the final phase of the camp will be in Johannesburg where Likuena will play an unnamed PSL side and a National First Division team.

Likuena squad:
Goalkeepers
Ntsane Lichaba (Bantu), Sekhoane Moerane (LMPS), Monaheng Ramalefane (Matlama)

Defenders
Basia Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi (both LMPS), Kopano Tseka, Thabang Malane, Refiloe Mothae (all LCS), Lisema Lebokollane (Matlama), Lesia Thetsane (Columbia College, United States), Motlomelo Mkhwanazi, Bokang Sello (both Bantu)

Midfielders
Thabo Sekhoa (LCS), Thabo Matšoele (Liphakoe), Tšepo Toloane (LDF), Luciano Matsoso, Tieho Ntulo (both Lioli), Hlompho Kalake, Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Litšepe Marabe (All Bantu), Jane Thaba-Ntšo (Matlama), Tumelo Khutlang, Tšoarelo Bereng (both Black Leopards, South Africa)

Forwards
Mokone Marabe (Bantu), Monyatheli Ntobo (LMPS), Thabang Rabi (LDF), Masoabi Nkoto (Real Kings, South Africa), Motebang Sera (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa), Tšeliso Botsane (Kick4Life).

Tlalane Phahla

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