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Notsi backs new recruits

Lesotho interim head coach Leslie Notši heaped praise on Likuena’s new recruits who made their debut in last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Mozambique in an international friendly. Five players made their first Lesotho appearance in the game – Thato Sefuli, Rethabile Rasethuntša, Tlotliso Phatsisi, Tumelo Shai and Alfred Mosoeu.

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The match was part of a three-game Likuena tour in South Africa which started against Mozambique and continued on Monday with a match against South African premier league outfit Sekhukhune United.

Likuena will finish the tour today with a match against South Africa’s national side, Bafana Bafana.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Notši expressed his delight at the performances of the debutants and said it was obvious to see their talent.

“Thato Sefuli was playing centre-back with Rethabile Rasethuntša and they had a good game. We used Tlotliso Phatsisi in the second half (and) he also did well. Then the young boy, Tumelo Shai, got some minutes and same thing with him as well, you can see there is talent,” he said.

“It is people that you can see are giving us something,” Notši added.

Although Lesotho lost 2-0 to Mozambique at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Notši said the score-line was not a true reflection of the game.
Mozambique’s two goals came via the penalty spot and an own goal while, on the other hand, Likuena failed to score with the chances they created.
Notši said being clinical upfront is still the main challenge for Likuena even though they scored three goals against Sekhukhune United on Monday.

“Alfred Mosoeu came on as well (against Mozambique), the only player who didn’t come on was Fusi Matlaba but we used him in the friendly against Sekhukhune United so they all played. We are satisfied with their performance especially how they gelled with the other players in the team,” he said.

Notši said morale is high in camp because the players understand how important the games are, even if they are just friendly matches.
Likuena scored the high profile matches against Mozambique and South Africa after their impressive performances against Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Benin last year.
Notši said it is important for Likuena to stay consistent as a team and keep performing at a high level.

“We are taking the games seriously. We also want players born in Lesotho (who are living in South Africa) who wish to play for us to have an opportunity to see the national team. If you look at Shai’s age, his abilities and where he plays (Kaizer Chiefs), you can see he is a future player for Lesotho,” he said.

“I spoke with Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson and the coaches he is working with in his team. They spoke well about him and his performance showed why. He is a player you have to look at in the next two years. The other new players also showed (a lot of promise) and we are happy with them,” Notši said.

While both Mozambique and South Africa are using the games to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) starting this weekend in Ivory Coast, Lesotho is using the matches to prepare for the 2025 AFCON qualifiers, which are set to start in March with the preliminary stages.

Tlalane Phahla

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