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THIS week we give you a summary of the fixtures and key players who will do battle for Likuena in the COSAFA Cup tournament that begins in Namibia on Sunday.

Lesotho’s 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup fixture:

Lesotho v Mauritius (Sunday 12 June)

Angola v Lesotho (Tuesday 14 June)

Malawi v Lesotho (Thursday 16 June)


Likuena’s COSAFA Castle Cup Squad


Daniel Jousse (Lesotho Correctional Service)

Jousse goes into the COSAFA Cup following a stellar season at Lesotho Correctional Service. With the agile goal-tender between the sticks, ‘Masheshena’ harboured hopes of an expected league title for much of the season and it is that form that has probably earned him Likuena’s number one jersey in these final weeks ahead of the COSAFA Cup. Jousse has played for Lesotho’s Under-15, 17, 20 and 23 teams. Now he gets the chance to make himself Likuena’s first choice.

Liteboho Mokhehle (Lioli)

Mokhehle spent the 2015/16 season competing for number one jersey at his club with Kananelo Makhooane and Mohau Kuenane so his campaign was stop-start one.

So, despite his top-class displays wherever he played, the fact he was not his club’s undisputed keeper is probably the reason why Mokhehle is likely to start the COSAFA Cup as Maliehe’s second choice. Nonetheless, Mokhehle’s excellent communication and aerial skills make him a valuable option and, as such, makes the goalkeeping department is Lesotho’s strongest area which probably hasn’t been the case since the late Tšeliso Thite.


Basia Makepe (Lioli)

Makepe is the first name on the team-sheet not only because he is captain of the team, but because he is its most reliable performer. He is ever-present and ever steady and is coming off another successful domestic campaign. Makepe’s strength is his positioning and reading of the game but he also has the physical prowess to win physical battles.

Kopano Tseka (Lioli)

Tseka’s form is arguably the most crucial piece of the puzzle in Namibia. Why? Because Tseka has been tabbed as the man to partner Makepe in the heart of defence. He is a full-hearted defender but can be prone to a rash error. Lesotho needs Tseka to be on top of his game if the team is to succeed.

Bokang Sello (Lioli)

Another member of Lioli’s vaunted defensive unit, Sello is the team’s first choice at left-back. He has earned the spot through his consistent displays at club level, including on the continent, over the past two years.

Mafa Moremoholo (Lioli)

Moremoholo started at right-back against Ethiopia which means he has the inside track to start on Sunday against Mauritius. He has good pace, a calm head and brings plenty of international experience despite his young age.

Motlomelo Mkhwanazi (Sandawana)

Mkhwanazi shot to prominence over the past year as part of the Sandawana side that upset the applecart to finish fourth in the league. A rock at the back, Mkhwanazi has played himself into the Likuena set-up despite not being in Maliehe’s 24-man preliminary squad at the start of April. He is the centre-back plan B behind Makepe and Tseka.

Sepiriti Malefane (Bantu)

Despite not starting against Ethiopia, Malefane’s versatility is important for the team and he could still find himself a key player at the COSAFA Cup. As things stand, Lesotho’s right-back and central defensive midfield positions are still up for grabs.


Montoeli Sonopo (Lioli)

Sonopo burst onto the scene in 2010 as a high-flying winger in the colours of Nyenye Rovers. He quickly earned a mega move to Lioli and, after impressing at the CAF African U-20 Championship in 2011, earned himself a move to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. However, his stay in Spain was short-lived and the episode seemed to affect Sonopo. His form dipped and the winger found himself out of favour at national and club level. This season has been a renaissance one for Sonopo, however, and he has worked himself back into the national fold. He remains a blistering talent.

Jeremea Kamela (Lioli)

Kamela has been a standout player for club and country for the past year. However, such is his versatility, it remains to be seen where Kamela will actually play in Namibia. Against Ethiopia he started as Likuena’s anchor-man in midfield but didn’t have his normal influence on the game. If his talents can be harnessed correctly, Kamela can be a difference-maker for Lesotho at the COSAFA Cup.

Hlompho Kalake (Bantu)

Kalake is comfortable on the ball and possesses a wide range of passes. The creative midfielder has risen to prominence since moving to Bantu in 2013 and is one of several players that could move abroad with a strong display in Namibia.

Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama)

Long touted as a future prospect, Mahula thrived under Maliehe’s guidance at club level with Matlama this past season. Even though he was deployed in a deeper midfield role, Mahula lost none of his inventive powers and took over as Matlama’s primary creative force.  He is not a first choice but could work his way into the starting line-up.

Jane Thaba-Ntšo (Matlama)

Thaba-Ntšo has become one of the first names on the team-sheet and the Matlama attacking midfielder is only getting better. He is that rare gem in football, a goal-scoring midfielder, and such a player’s presence allows the team to pursue solidity in midfield while losing none of its offensive threat. This is why Thaba-Ntšo will be important in Namibia. Maliehe is likely to start with one striker and it is vital Likuena’s midfielders provide a goal-threat if the strategy is to work.

Phafa Tšosane (Matlama)

The Matlama captain finds himself down the pecking order in Likuena’s midfield stakes but could yet find himself in the line-up in Namibia. His strengths are his immaculate passing, vision and set-piece delivery. However, whether he can cope with the physical demands of facing sides such as Angola and Malawi remains to be seen.

Mabuti Potloane (Matlama)

With Maliehe’s overhaul of the squad, Potloane now finds himself as the experienced head in the team. He is also likely to be its central creative fulcrum as the link between the midfield and the striker.


Thabo Seakhoa (LCS)

Seakhoa worked himself into the Likuena squad thanks to his strong late season form. He is direct and strong and could turn out to be a key player if Maliehe seeks a more direct approach.

Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS)

Seturumane is the best finisher in the team and has experience of the COSAFA Cup having been part of the side that reached the semi-finals in 2013 in Zambia. He is likely to be Lesotho’s starting central striker on Sunday against Mauritius.

Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli)

Arguably the most exciting prospect in the team, Khutlang is an offensive machine. For now it appears as though his role may be to create havoc off the bench. However, he has the talent to light up the group stages.

Motebang Sera (Matlama)

Sera is in the Likuena team on the back of his sterling campaign with Matlama where he finished the season as the league’s top goalscorer with 14 goals. However, Sera struggled in recent friendlies against Swaziland and his place in the starting line-up may be under threat.

Lesotho’s COSAFA Cup Records:

Biggest win: Lesotho 2-0 Swaziland, 2013, Lusaka (Mojela Letsie, Tšepo Seturumane)

Biggest loss: Lesotho 0-3 Zimbabwe, 2000, Maseru. Zimbabwe 3-0 Lesotho, 2000, Bulawayo

Top all-time scorer: Thapelo Tale (four goals)


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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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