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Kick4Life chases unbeaten run



MASERU – Kick4Life women’s team are aiming to go unbeaten this upcoming Women’s Super League season and leading their ambitious desires is a seasoned woman coach, Elizabeth Yelimala.

Since 2019, Kick4Life Ladies have only lost one league game which makes their quest probable.

The Women’s Super League regular season is expected to start soon but, before that, the club will be in action this weekend in the WSL Top 4 where they will face arch-rivals Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies in the semi-finals.

It will be the first test of Kick4Life’s credentials and to get them through, Kic4Life will once again be looking to the guidance and tactics of Yelimala who is one of the most respected coaches in the country, not only because she is good at her job, but because she keeps breaking boundaries in the male-dominated field.

Yelimala is the only woman and one of the few coaches at all in the country who holds the CAF A-Licence coaching certification.

She completed the prestigious course in 2016 and while she is proud of her achievement, she says local football needs more women coaches. Yelimala arrived in Lesotho in 2006 from Ghana.

She joined Majantja and has been involved in Lesotho’s football since then.

After spending years with the Mohale’s Hoek club, she left to join Mphatlalatsane and from there she joined Kick4Life as the senior men’s assistant coach and the Old Europa club has been her home for the last eight years.

Yelimala worked in men’s football until 2019 when she shifted to Kick4Life’s women’s team.

“I might have (CAF) A Licence which is good, but we really need women in coaching,” Yelimala says.

“I made a presentation in South Africa where they gave me a topic that asked who should coach female clubs: should it be women or men?” she continues.

“As I was researching, I realised that we really need women in football but many women are scared to come (looking) for work. They feel they will not perform; they feel there is gender bias, there is sexism, they (are called) different names and they are really scared. I went through all the courses with the Lesotho Football (Association) while I was still instructing, and facilitating and I have always been the only lady amongst men,” Yelimala says.

The fears women have when it comes to football are valid, there is gender bias and sexism in football. It does not just happen in coaching but it is across the board and in the media as well. Women are treated differently to their male counterparts.

Being surrounded by men can put women under pressure and women may not be able to cope.

“In that presentation, one of my recommendations was we need to start somewhere,” Yelimala says.

“It will be good if we start by putting women in the club’s technical teams which I believe Lesotho can also do. I talked to coach Thots (Lehlohonolo Thotanyana) last time, I said ‘call me, let’s sit down and discuss when you are ready’ because now we need to put women in technical positions,” she adds.

If there is a bench of five technical members, one or two should be women who will be an assistant to the male coach, Yelimala suggests.

In that way the women coaches will get to learn from the head coach and also be given the opportunity to at least take up the warm up.

Yelimala believes this will build up their confidence.

She says it would also help to have courses specifically for women, even if it is just ten of them in the course so that they can express themselves.

Asked how she has kept it going all these years being surrounded by men, Yelimala says she has always been a tomboy from childhood and was teased about it to a point where she got used to it.

She has become a role model to upcoming women coaches and that motivates her as well.

“What also kept me going was being with the male teams, I was with the teams and they were like my younger brothers, we talked like siblings and they never looked at me as a woman and we don’t listen to her,” Yelimala says.

“When I entered the field with men they listen and they do accordingly so it gave me the hope that if these guys can listen and do what I want them to do then it is good for me to continue to learn to be a better coach for the future,” she continues.

Besides Yelimala, there is Puseletso Mokhosi who holds the CAF B License but she is not active anymore.

There are about three more women who hold the C Licences and a few with D Licences. She is set to remain the only one with the A Licence at least for the next two years as there are no B courses on the horizon yet.

“We held the D License in December for the Region 5 Games, we had about ten ladies that attended, so if we had C now it would be easy to push one or two. The current Under-17 coach we recommended should go into coaching and she is doing well, the Under-20 kit manager we are pushing her into coaching,” she says.

Previewing the weekend’s game against Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies, Yelimala says this will be the first time they step on to the field since they started training five weeks ago.

They will also be without some of their players who came back with injuries from the national team.

Those challenges notwithstanding, Yelimala says they always make the players aware that every game is important.

“Physically the whole team I will say we are not up to where we want to be because we had a number of players with the national team that went to Port Elizabeth and when they came back, we gave them days off,” she says.

“They have been training from March to April till the competition ended so it is advisable to give them that break in order not to allow fatigue to set in when we really need them. They joined us about two weeks ago for training. Frankly speaking we are not where we want to be,” Yelimala continues.

While many would have liked to see Kick4Life and LDF in the final, Yelimala says she didn’t have a preference on who to draw, in fact, she says the team they have always struggled against is FC Stoko.

Tlalane Phahla

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Mohlolo rescues point for LDF Ladies



A last-gasp strike by Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies striker ‘Maseriti Mohlolo rescued a point for the Women’s Super League (WSL) champions against Malawi’s Ntopwa in the opener of their CAF Women’s Champions League COSAFA Qualifiers yesterday.

Mohlolo’s goal keeps LDF Ladies in contention to progress to the next round with two teams from the four-team group set to qualify for the semi-finals.

Although LDF Ladies were not outplayed in the game, they missed many chances and their set-pieces left a lot to be desired.
Maybe that can be attributed to a last minute coaching change that saw Pule Khojane replace Lengana Nkhethoa as head coach of a side that won the WSL unbeaten last season.

Speaking after the game, Khojane said even though he realised early on that the Malawian team were tough physically, he still wanted LDF Ladies to play their normal passing game.
In the end, Khojane was left to lament the number of chances his side created but couldn’t convert.
Khojane said that will be a point of emphasis before LDF Ladies step onto the field again tomorrow against Botswana’s Double Action.
Tomorrow’s tie is probably a must-win with the group’s other team being defending champions Green Buffaloes of Zambia and LDF Ladies will need to convert their chances.

“We play with four at the back but with two attacking full backs, most of the time if a team plays long balls like (Ntopwa) we struggle a lot but we don’t change our game. We want to play; we want to go forward.
“That’s why sometimes we made a lot of mistakes when the ball was played high behind our backs but we still wanted to play our game and win. We were just unfortunate not to score more goals but we were playing (well),” Khojane said.

LDF conceded a late goal in the first half and were perhaps lucky to go into the half time break just a goal down.
Before Ntopwa took the lead they were awarded a penalty for a reckless foul in the box but they missed the chance to open the scoring.
LDF recovered in the second that but could not find a way into the goals.

It looked as if Lesotho’s representatives at the regional showpiece would begin their campaign with a defeat. However, Mohlolo rescued the Lesotho champions when she latched onto a poor back pass from a defender. She stole the ball and levelled matters with less than three minutes to go.
There was no time for the LDF to get a winner and they had to settle for a point in their opening group game.
They will now be looking to improve and sharpen their scoring boots for tomorrow’s showdown against Double Action of Botswana.

LDF Ladies fixtures:
August 30
LDF Ladies 1-1 Ntopwa
Double Action vs. LDF Ladies
Green Buffaloes vs. LDF Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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Makepe quits Likuena duty



Likuena captain Basia Makepe has retired from international football after leading the senior national team to silver at the recent COSAFA Cup tournament held in Durban, South Africa.
This was the first time since 2000 that Likuena had reached the final of the regional tournament where they lost 1-0 to Zambia.

The Leribe born defender will go down as one of the most decorated defenders in the country having represented his country 87 times and winning several accolades in the process.

Makepe’s leadership skills were spotted from a young age, where he was appointed captain of the national U-20 team, Makoanyane XI by Leslie Notši.
He led by example as Makoanyane XI qualified for the CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in 2011, which in those days was knowns as the African Youth Championship, where the side eliminated countries like Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya to qualify for the tournament.

Makepe won his first Likuena cap in a 2-1 victory over Eswatini during an international friendly match played at Setsoto Stadium in October 2012 and went on to make the squad for the 2013 COSAFA Cup in Zambia.
However, Makepe was an unused substitute at the tournament as Notši went for the tried and tested defenders such as Moitheri Ntobo, Tlali Maile and Thabo Masualle as Likuena reached the semi-finals.

He would later be appointed the Likuena captain as coach Moses Maliehe went for a younger generation at the 2016 COSAFA Cup in Namibia, where Likuena won all their group stage matches but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Shakes Mashaba-coached Bafana Bafana.
Makepe has not only enjoyed success with the national team but won several domestic trophies at Lioli, where he was also handed the captaincy after joining from boyhood club and now defunct Joy FC.

After leaving Lioli, he joined the police outfit, LMPS FC, where he is employed as a police officer and believes he still has a few years left in his tank playing for Simunye, as the police outfit is affectionately known.

“I think I have had a career that you can say was decent and can be accepted as satisfying to the football fraternity,” Makepe said.

“For me I can say it was a good career that has had challenges here and there as well as successes here and there, which started way back with the Under-20 team.

“With Makoanyane XI, we became the second team to qualify for the Africa Youth Championship and fortunately I had the honour of being the captain of that team.”

The 32-year-old, who has come up against the best forwards on the continent from the young Mohamed Salah during the 2011 Under-20 Africa Youth Championship to the likes of Victor Osimhen, Riyad Mahrez, has singled out former Burkina Faso striker Jonathan Pitroipa as the most troublesome opponent he has faced.

“I have come up against the best from this continent from the likes of Salah and others, but I think Pitroipa of Burkina Faso was the most troublesome forward I have come up against,” he said.

“I think the successes with the senior team especially as the captain are many having reached the COSAFA semi-finals a number of times with Likuena and twice going unbeaten in the group stage in Zambia 2013 and Namibia 2016 respectively.

“Being the captain of the team was the cherry on top and getting bronze medal in 2018. I end my chapter with Likuena having played a role in helping the team get to the final for the first time in 23 years,” he said.

Makepe admitted that the 2016 edition of the COSAFA tournament was very special for him as it was the first he captained the side and they won all their group stage matches.

“The COSAFA tournament in Namibia in 2016 stands out for me especially that game against South Africa, which unfortunately we lost on penalties, but it was a good tournament overall,” he said.

“All in all, I think it was a very satisfying career with the national team though you always want more as a player. I’m happy to bow out having helped Likuena re-write history. It’s a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“I’m very grateful to all who have supported me throughout my career, my teammates, coaches, administrators and the supporters, who were always by our side and of course the Lesotho Football Association for giving me the opportunities to lead the national team,” he said.

Mikia Kalati

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Notši picks squad for Ivory Coast tie



Lesotho interim coach Leslie Notši has named a provisional 27-man squad for the side’s final 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Ivory Coast which is scheduled for September 9.
By virtue of being the hosts of next year’s showpiece, Ivory Coast have already qualified for the tournament while Likuena no longer have a chance of joining them after back-to-back defeats with Zambia in June.

With nothing to play with but pride, Likuena can draw inspiration from their performance when the sides met in their first Group H encounter last June which ended in a goalless draw.
The match was played in Soweto and Lesotho’s memorably dogged display against their much more fancied opponents is something Notši’s charges can look to for inspiration.

Several new faces could feature in that return game in Ivory Coast.
Fresh off last month’s COSAFA Cup final display, Notši has called up some fresh blood to bolster the squad such as Khubetsoana Kamela, Tšeliso Botsane and Teboho Letsema who have each represented Lesotho’s junior teams but are yet to make the leap to the senior side.

Notši’s squad also includes the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) trio of Morena Moloi, Lebesa Lebesa and Victor Ferreira who have been called up to the national team set-up for the first time in their careers.
The most surprising inclusion is perhaps that of Ferreira who spent the majority of last season making cameo appearances from the LDF substitutes’ bench.

Speaking with LEFA’s media team, Notši said the new faces are intended to give him depth going into the 2024 African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers which start in September and are reserved only for locally based players.
It means the handful of Likuena players plying their trade outside the country will be ineligible to play. The first round of the 2024 CHAN qualifiers is set to begin from September 22 to 24.

“We all know that AFCON qualification is out of our reach and the bigger picture is to prepare the team for the CHAN qualifiers, which are coming very soon,” Notši said.
“Most of these boys have come through the ranks playing for our junior national team and it’s the association’s investment that needs to be given a chance to grow,” the Lesotho mentor added.

The 27-man Likuena squad will be trimmed down to a manageable size towards the side’s departure to Ivory Coast, but the core of the players that went to the COSAFA Cup in July are expected to retain their places in the team.
Likuena have a busy schedule ahead with the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers also in the pipeline this year. Notši needs to have as strong a team as possible to compete in all the competitions.

Likuena provisional squad:
Sekhoane Moerane, Teboho Ratibisi, Mosoeu Seahlolo.
Rethabile Senkoto, Motlomelo Mkhwanazi, Mohlomi Makhetha, Rethabile Mokokoane, Rethabile Rasethuntša, Lebesa Lebesa, ‘Mellere Lebetša.
Lisema Lebokollane, Khubetsoana Kamele, Tšeliso Botsane, Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Thabo Lesaoana, Tumelo Makha, Koenehelo Mothala, Tšepang Sefali, Victor Ferreira, Tshwarelo Bereng, Teboho Letsema, Neo Mokhachance, Tšepo Toloane, Morena Moloi.
Thabiso Mari, Jane Thabantšo, Motebang Sera, Katleho Makateng.

Tlalane Phahla

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