|Sundawana captain Johannes Molapo (left) has earned his first Likuena call-up|
New Lesotho coach Moses Maliehe has named his first squad as Likuena boss.
The 24-man squad includes several new faces. Kick4Life are rewarded for their excellent start to the Vodacom Premier League season with three players in the squad. Two of the players – Motlalepula Chabeli and Tšeliso Ramafikeng – are in the Likuena for the first time while striker Thabiso Brown is recalled after missing the COSAFA Castle Cup last July.
This year’s surprise package Sky Battalion also have a pair of players in Maliehe’s squad with Keketso Synders and Tšepang Ntsenyane called-up to Likuena for the first time after their impressive displays for the Vodacom premiership new boys.
Other new faces in the squad are Sundawana captain Johannes Molapo, who is returning from a fractured leg, LDF defender Koete Mohloai and Lesotho Under-20 international Lehlohonolo Fothoane.
Fothoane, who plays for A-Division outfit Swallows, is the only player in the squad that doesn’t ply their trade in Vodacom Premier League.
The squad also sees the return of Bantu winger Tsebang Lebata after a career-threatening knee injury.
Maliehe has selected the squad in preparation for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers which start in April.
Likuena are currently in the first stage of their training programme which involves gym sessions at Lehakoe Gym. Stage two will see the team add training sessions at Setsoto Stadium to their Lehakoe programme.
Stages three and four will be more tactical and they will include friendly matches as the team fine-tunes for the CHAN qualifiers. The draw for the qualifiers will be held on April 9 with the qualifying games starting on April 20.
Maliehe was Likuena’s caretaker coach in 2016 and in July he led Lesotho to the quarterfinals of the COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia before losing to South Africa on penalties.
The former national Under-20 boss has signed a one-year contract and he is Lesotho’s first permanent coach since Leslie Notši left the post in January 2014.
Maliehe said he will cut the squad down to 19 players at the end of February. Maliehe also said he will name a new Likuena captain in the coming months after the retirement of previous captain Basia Makepe from international football.
The Likuena squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Daniel Jousse (LCS), Likano Mphuthing (LDF)
Defenders: Tšeliso Ramathe (Matlama), Johannes Molapo (Sundawana), Poloko Mohale (LCS), Mafa Moremoholo (Lioli), Motiki Mohale (LCS), Koete Mohloai (LDF), Jerry Kamela (Lioli)
Midfielders: Tšeliso Ramafikeng (Kick4Life), Thabiso Mohapi (Bantu), Mabuti Potloane (Matlama), Kefuoe Mahula (Matlama), Litšepe Marabe (Bantu), Nketsi Rankhasa (Matlama), Tsebang Lebata (Bantu), Phafa Tšosane (Matlama)
Strikers: Motlalepula Chabeli (Kick4Life), Thabiso Brown (Kick4Life), Sera Motebang (Matlama), Keketso Synders (Sky Battalion), Tšepang Ntsenyane (Sky Battalion), Lehlohonolo Fothoane (Swallows)