Under 20 to face Zimbabwe counterparts in COSAFA opening game

Lesotho’s under 20 youth team popularly known as Makoanyane XI will open up the 2017 Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) Youth Championships against Zimbabwe in Group C on Thursday at Nkana stadium.
The team leaves for Zambia on Tuesday morning with a total of 19 players plus six technical team headed by Mr. Lehlohonolo Matlosa as team manager, with the head coach being Mr. Leslie Notsi.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Mr. Matlosa said the team is ready for this year’s COSAFA Youth Championships despite having encountered challenges in their preparations for this regional soccer tournament.
Mr. Matlosa said some of the challenges included failure to play many international friendly games due to league congestion as some of the players have been drawn from the premier league and A Division sides and were not readily available to play the much needed warm up matches.
Despite the challenges, he said Makoanyane XI managed to play against neighbouring South Africa counterparts twice losing both matches 1-0 and 5-0 as the players had to be released to join their respective clubs.
He said Makoanyane XI also faced Swaziland twice at the DIFA stadium in Maputsoe and again lost the encounters 2-0 on both occasions.
The team manager said the losses against South Africa and Swaziland was a learning curve as they gave the technical team a chance to identify their mistakes of lack of goals and erratic defence, hoping that the technical team led by Mr. Notsi learned a lot from those mistakes and should have worked and rectified them going forward.
Mr. Matlosa said their target is to at least go beyond the group stages to reach the COSAFA quarter-finals in order to pave the way for the African Youth Championships next year.
Makoanyane XI will also face Angola and Namibia in Group C at Arthur stadium and Nkana stadium on Friday and Monday next, where the home boys will know their fate in group C if they proceed to the next stage or not.
The hosts Zambia is the defending COSAFA Cup champions, after winning it last year in South Africa by beating the host nation South Africa at the final.
Group A consists of Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Uganda as invited guests while Group B is made up of South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius and Egypt as invited guests.

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