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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lesotho women’s team to tour South Africa ahead of AFCON qualifiers

Lesotho will face Swaziland to open their 2018 Women's AFCON qualifiers

Lesotho’s national women’s football team will play a trio of friendly games against South African clubs over the next two weeks to prepare for their 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Swaziland in April.

Mehalalitoe will host Swaziland in the first leg of the first round tie on April 6 with the return leg on April 10.

To prepare, Monaheng Montšo’s side will embark on a series of friendly games against three sides in South Africa’s top-flight – the Sasol Women’s League.

The first of the games is on Saturday against South African champions Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies who, incidentally, are captained by Lesotho skipper Boitumelo Rabale.

After facing Celtic, Mehalalitoe will then take on the Free State Police women’s team in Ficksburg next Wednesday before concluding their tour against Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in Pretoria next Saturday.

“We will use the three friendlies to assess our standards of play and see where we can correct before the AFCON qualifiers against Swaziland,” Lesotho team manager Thabaneng Lekhooa said.

“Immediately after the last game (against Sundowns) the team will start with its final camp,” he added.

Rabale, who was named Lesotho’s first-ever Sports Star of the Year at last year’s inaugural Lesotho Annual Sports Awards, will again lead Mehalalitoe and be the team’s key player.

Also in the squad is United States based striker Senate Letsie.

However, the former Kick4Life Ladies star will only join the squad after the trip to South Africa.

Taking part in the 2018 Women’s AFCON qualifiers is another positive step for women’s football in Lesotho which has grown since the inauguration of a national women’s league – the Women’s Super League – three years ago.

If Mehalalitoe manage to navigate their way past Swaziland they will face neighbours South Africa in the next round.

The 2018 Total Women Africa Cup of Nations will be the 13th edition of the biennial championship and will be hosted by Ghana from November 17 to December 1.

The Women’s AFCON will also double as Africa’s qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the top three teams qualifying for the global showpiece to be held in France.

Mehalalitoe squad:
Goalkeepers: Mosilinyane Lefaphane, Thuto Maifo, Boitumelo Nkeane

Defenders: Mosili Motšoeneng, Rethabile Ntobo, Lerato Kheme, Nkotso Mapota, ‘Macheche Matjamela, Liako Makotoane, Lerato Rasello, Yedwa Monyane, ‘Mamoroesi Likotsi, ‘Mapheko Motlalane

Midfielders: Boitumelo Rabale, Palesa Mpeta, Ntšabeng Pelea, Kefuoe Makoa, ‘Mafusi Phesolo, Makobo Kepa, Mating Monokoane, ‘Maseriti Mohlolo, Tebello Makuru, Mosele Pita and Tšoanelo Leboka

Strikers: Senate Letsie, Nthabiseng Pule, Relebohile Akhente, Lits’eoana Maloro, Kholu Lebakeng, Mateliso Makutoane

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