The return of Notši

The return of Notši

MASERU – THE Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) technical director Leslie Notši will take over as coach of the national team, Likuena, on a caretaker basis, the association announced on Wednesday.
Notši assumed his duties on Tuesday and will be in charge of Likuena as they prepare for a crucial 2020 CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against South Africa later this month.
The first leg of the tie will be played on July 28 in Maseru with the return game a week later.
Notši replaces Likuena head coach Moses Maliehe who has been given a leave of absence as he continues to struggle with an undisclosed illness.

Maliehe has reportedly been sick since Lesotho’s final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Cape Verde on March 22.
He missed last month’s COSAFA Cup in Durban, South Africa where his assistants Mpitsa Marai and James Madidilane led Lesotho to fourth place in his place.
Marai and Madidilane will continue in their roles to assist Notši.
Speaking on Wednesday, LEFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi said the association’s executive committee made the decision on Tuesday.
He said Notši will continue with his duties as LEFA’s technical director but has been given full rule over the Likuena setup and can make changes as he sees fit.

A provisional 26-man squad for the tie against South Africa was called up two weeks ago but Mohapi said Notši can make changes to that selection if he feels the need for different options.
“After we came back from Cape Verde our coach (Maliehe) fell ill,” Mohapi explained.
“When he came back we gave (Likuena’s technical team) an extended assignment with COSAFA and CHAN, with (Maliehe) as the head coach, Mpitsa Marai as his assistant and James Madidilane as his second assistant and Postnet Omony as the goalkeeper coach,” Mohapi added.

“But, in the build-up to the COSAFA Cup things became difficult health-wise for (Maliehe) to the extent that we went to the COSAFA Cup with just the two assistants (Marai and Madidilane), and we had deploy the technical director (Notši) to a position where he was going to help the technical team in Durban.”
Mohapi said installing Notši as interim coach was necessary given the importance of the CHAN tie against South Africa.
“We came back from the COSAFA Cup and we started the preparations for CHAN and we realised the head coach was getting sick regularly and (on Tuesday) we met as the executive committee to see how we can work on it, especially looking at the magnitude of the game we are going to play,” he said.
Lesotho’s CHAN qualifying journey, Mohapi said, will decide the fate of Likuena’s technical staff.

If Likuena advance past South Africa, they will face a final qualifier in September and October to qualify for the 16-team CHAN tournament which will be hosted in January and February 2020 in Cameroon.
“I want to remind you that the three coaches – Maliehe, Marai and Madidilane – were given a mandate to reach the COSAFA final and that their engagement with LEFA will end where Likuena’s CHAN journey ends,” Mohapi said.
“When we looked at all this, we decided to give coach Maliehe a leave of absence to take care of himself; I personally conveyed this resolution to him.”
Mohapi said Notši is no stranger to coaching at the national team level and has the necessary experience to guide Likuena.
Notši is one of Lesotho’s most respected coaches.

He guided Lesotho’s Under-20 to the 2011 CAF African Youth Championship which is one of only two times the country has qualified for a continental tournament.
From there, Notši coached Likuena from April 2011 until December 2013 during which he helped set the stage for Lesotho’s highest-ever FIFA ranking of 105 which it achieved in August 2014.
His most recent post was with Econet Premier League outfit Kick4Life whom he inspired to an improbable top four league finish in 2016.
Mohapi said that while the futures of Likuena’s technical team hinge on Lesotho’s CHAN qualifying progress, Notši’s position as LEFA technical director is safe.

“(Notši) assumes the full right that any coach would get, he is in charge of the training sessions, he even delegates training sessions. The technical team reports to him,” Mohapi said.
“He will be in charge of the team selection on match-day. It will not be easy but it is unfortunate (and) someone has to do it,” he added.
“We know the nature of coaching in Lesotho. Isn’t it correct that the association advised itself that the harmony that already exists in the team be continued by bringing the person that was already in the team? (Notši) was with them in Durban he pretty much knows what goes on in the team,” Mohapi said.
Mohapi also confirmed that Lesotho Correctional Service goalkeeper, Sam Ketsekile, has been appointed as Likuena’s interim goalkeeper coach. Ketsekile replaces Omony who has joined South African side Chippa United in a similar role.

Tlalane Phahla


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