Senong tweaks squad

Senong tweaks squad

MASERU – Lesotho national team coach Thabo Senong has named a 21-man squad for this month’s second leg showdown against Zimbabwe in the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.
The match is scheduled to be played at Setsoto Stadium on October 20.
Likuena suffered a 3-1 away defeat in the first leg last Sunday and if they are to qualify for their first-ever continental tournament they have to beat the Warriors by at least two goals and without conceding at home.
Senong selected his squad last week but has already been dealt two injury blows with Tšepo Toloane and Makara Ntaitsane forced to withdraw from the original list. In their place Senong has called up Bantu’s Neo Mokhachane and Kick4Life’s Tšeliso Botsane.

On Tuesday, Senong explained why he made changes to the team that lost in Zimbabwe.
The South African coach said Likuena needed more creativity in midfield which opened the door for Liphakoe’s Mohau Rammoneng who has been a consistent performer for his club this season.

Senong also said Lesotho could have conceded more than three goals in Harare because the Zimbabwean attack was much stronger than Likuena’s defence which meant the defensive department had to be reinforced ahead of the second leg.

“We obviously made some new inclusions in the team because after the 3-1 loss to Zimbabwe we realised that our team still had challenges in defence, in attack and even in the midfield we are not creative enough,” Senong said.
“We just felt that we needed to try and add players that can help us because they are doing well for their respective clubs; I am talking about players like Mohau (Rammoneng) who can offer a bit of creativity in the midfield as we saw him perform for Liphakoe and Litšepe (Marabe), he is creative and we need to be dangerous in set-plays and he has been doing that for Bantu,” the Likuena coach added.

“In defence we could have conceded maybe about six goals, (the) Zimbabwean attackers were too strong for us hence we brought the experience of Kopano Tseka and he is also doing well for LCS,” he said.
Senong said the changes to Likuena have been made looking at the system they want to play and the players’ performances. There is also an eye on the start of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in November where Lesotho has been drawn in Group L alongside Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Benin.

“When we make inclusions we look at the mental readiness of the players,” Senong said.
“Let’s try to exclude some players and add some because we feel the game is not over yet. I still believe the away goal helped us a lot and we are approaching this game with the hope that we can win it without conceding,” he continued.

“Hopefully we can go through but we know that we still have a lot of work and time is against us. The AFCON qualifiers are also close in a month’s time, so we have been trying to come up with a system that can help us against Zimbabwe in the second leg, but it is the system and the playing personnel that will help us against Sierra Leone and Nigeria,” Senong explained.

Likuena are also trying to secure a friendly match against another country before they host Zimbabwe because it will help them prepare mentally and tactically, the coach said.
Senong said there is a possibility there could be more additions to the team in the remaining two weeks and he has not closed doors on anyone to represent Likuena.

Initially only two goalkeepers, Likano Mphuthi and Ntsane Lichaba, had been called to the national team but Senong has added a third goalkeeper this week in Sekhoane Moerane of Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).
“I must be honest, the injuries that we got this weekend of Toloane and Ntaitsane were unfortunate injuries that we didn’t plan for, but with the exclusion of players we are always looking at the opposition, we are always looking at the new system that we are going to play, we also look at the readiness and the discipline of the players,” Senong said.

“We are still going to exclude some (players) and we are still going to include some, but the criteria is different, we don’t look at potential, talent or ability only, we also look at the character of the players we are bringing in,” he added.
“When you want to build a winning team we must start winning in training (and) in the dressing room. We need harmony in camp, we need an excellent team spirit (and) that is the reason why we excluded a lot of players.”
Senong explained: “(The players’ selection) is based on their performances in our system and it is also based on character and discipline as well but we have not closed a door for any other player we can still bring other players.

All players that are part of the Premier League in Lesotho are eligible to be selected based on their performances on the field and their behaviour off the field. With the injuries that have occurred expect more changes, expect further additional personnel we might include because of the situation we are facing in these two weeks of preparations.”

Likuena squad:
Likano Mphuthi (LDF), Ntsane Lichaba (Bantu), Sekhoane Moerane (LMPS)

Mohai Mohai, Lisema Lebokollane (Matlama), Bokang Sello (Bantu), Basia Makepe, Nkau Lerotholi (LMPS), Kopano Tseka (LCS), Rethabile Rasethuntša (Linare)

Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Litšepe Marabe, Hlompho Kalake, Neo Mokhachane (Bantu), Mohau Rammoneng (Liphakoe), Phafa Tšosane, Jane Thaba-Ntšo (Matlama)

Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS), Mokone Marabe (Bantu), Tšeliso Botsane (Kick4Life)

Tlalane Phahla


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