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Friday, October 16, 2015

2016 CHAN: One change to Lesotho squad for Zimbabwe tie

Captain Experience
Moitheri Ntobo (in green)
Matlama goalkeeper Makhetha Thakeli has been called up to the Lesotho squad for Sunday’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Zimbabwe. The young keeper has been called up as cover for first choice starter Mohau Kuenane and Sam Ketsekile after a string of good performances for Tse Putsoa.

Sunday’s CHAN clash has been set for Balfourfields Stadium in Bulawayo and Likuena left for Zimbabwe on Wednesday morning. The game comes hot on the heels of Lesotho’s disappointing exit from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers at the hands of Comoros on Tuesday.

Lesotho was knocked out after a 1-1 second leg draw at Setsoto Stadium meant Comoros advanced on away goals. Sunday’s CHAN qualifier against Zimbabwe is a chance to find some light after Tuesday’s dark clouds. A win in the two-legged tie would guarantee Lesotho a place at the CHAN finals in Rwanda in January.

It would be the first time Lesotho qualifies for a senior international tournament.

However, reaching the CHAN, which is only for home based players, will be a difficult challenge. Zimbabwe has a strong domestic league and the Warriors reached the semi-finals of the last edition held in 2014 in South Africa.

Likuena’s under-fire caretaker coach Seephephe Matete will have to do without Matlama’s Nkau Lerotholi and Bantu’s Litšepe Marabe. The duo left camp on Monday because they were undergoing police training but apart from drafting in Thakeli, Matete has made no other additions or subtractions to his squad. The team will once again be led by centre-back Moitheri Ntobo who was coaxed out of international retirement ahead of the World Cup tie against Comoros.

Lesotho versus Zimbabwe is one of three last round CHAN qualifiers in the Southern Zone. In other ties, South Africa faces Angola while Zambia meets Mozambique.

Aside from the Northern Zone qualifiers, which are being played in a league phase format, all first leg matches will be played this coming weekend (October 16-18). The return matches are set for October 23-25.

In a fortnight the final 16-team field for the 2016 CHAN in Rwanda will be decided.

CHAN qualifiers last round

Northern Zone
Final round of group stage matches – top two teams qualify for CHAN
19 October – Tunisia v Libya
22 October – Libya v Morocco
25 October – Tunisia v Morocco

West Zone A
Two aggregate winners qualify for CHAN

First leg – 16-18 October
Mali v Mauritania
Guinea v Senegal
Second leg – 23-25 October
Mauritania v Mali
Senegal v Guinea

West Zone B
Three aggregate winners qualify for CHAN

First leg – 16-18 October
Ghana v Ivory Coast
Nigeria v Burkina Faso
Niger v Togo
Second leg – 23-25 October
Ivory Coast v Ghana
Burkina Faso v Nigeria
Togo v Niger

Central Zone
Three aggregate winners qualify for CHAN

First leg – 16-18 October
DR Congo v Central African Republic
Cameroon v Congo
Chad v Gabon
Second leg – 23-25 October
Central African Republic v DR Congo
Congo v Cameroon
Gabon v Chad

Central-East Zone
Two aggregate winners qualify for CHAN
First leg – 16-18 October
Uganda v Sudan
Burundi v Ethiopia
Second leg – 23-25 October
Sudan v Uganda
Ethiopia v Burundi
Balfourfields Stadium
The venue for Sunday's CHAN qualifier between Zimbabwe
and Lesotho
Southern Zone
Three aggregate winners qualify for CHAN
First leg – 16-18 October
Zimbabwe v Lesotho
Zambia v Mozambique
South Africa v Angola
Second leg – 23-25 October
Lesotho v Zimbabwe
Mozambique v Zambia
Angola v South Africa

Likuena squad
Sam Ketsekile (LCS), Mohau Kuenane (Lioli), Makhetha Thakeli (Matlama)

Jeremea Kamela (Lioli), Moitheri Ntobo (LCS), Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu), Basia Makepe (Lioli)

Ralekoti Mokhahlane (LCS), Bokang Mothoana (Likhopo), Tšoanelo Koetle (Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu), Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama), Jane ThabaNtšo (Matlama), Bushy Moletsane (Lioli), Lekhanya Lekhanya (Lioli), Motlalepula Mofolo (Lioli)

Tšepo Seturumane (LMPS), Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Thapelo Tale (Likhopo)

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