LESOTHO'S under-20 men's soccer national team will today start its 2020 COSAFA campaign when it locks horns with Mozambique in Port Elizabeth.
The tie kicks off 12:30pm at Wolfson Stadium and that game will be followed by a clash between the hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe at 3:30pm at the same venue.
Lesotho is drawn in Group A with South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Makoanyane XI left the country on Monday and the team's coach Bafokeng Mohapi said his boys were ready for the game.
He said all the players were ready for selection although a few are nursing minor injuries. The only player who is unavailable for selection in midfielder Percy Mohami who recently suffered an ankle injury.
"We have few injuries and one major injury on Percy... maybe he will be ready for the second game," Mohapi said.
Mohapi has already said the team's preparations have been marred by several challenges among them the players' school commitments which have hindered them from training adequately. He however, said the players must still work hard to win today's game so that the result can motivate them in their future games.
"Winning the first game will be a huge motivation. It is challenging to play the opening match of the tournament but for us to win, the players must know that it is not about nice football but it is about a good structure and character to win... we must also work as a team," Mohapi said.
Last month, Mohapi told the Lesotho Times that his side will be out in full force because the tournament will be used as a qualification tournament for the African Under-20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania in February and March 2021. That in turn will serve as a qualifier for the 2021 FIFA Under-20 World Cup which is pencilled in for Indonesia from 20 May to 12 June 2021. The top four sides in the African competition will head to the global finals.
Makoanyane XI's next game will be on Sunday against South Africa while their last group stage encounter is set for 8 December against Mozambique.
In other fixtures, tomorrow Malawi will face Comoros while Zambia will play Namibia, all in Group B. In Group C Angola will take on eSwatini.
Makoanyane XI squad
Goalkeepers: Mosoeu Seahlolo (LCS) and Utloana Leoma (Tšenola United)
Defenders: Shali Lekhotla (Lifofane), Tebello Mosoeu (Likhopo), Thapelo Mohale (Kick4life), Siyabonga Monyaka (Majantja), Thapelo Lebesa (Limkokwing).
Midfielders: Teboho Letsema (Ketane), Tšele Rankhasa (Lioli), Katiso Selili (Bantu), Katleho Rapuleng (Rydo), Kananelo Rapuleng ( Rydo), Kananelo Teneso (LCS), Mzimasi Tyhali (Rydo, Mohami Percy Mohami (LCS), Bakuena Ramakatsa (Kick4life Juniors).
Forwards: Mxolisi Mothae (Likhopo), Hlomelang Lebina (LCS), Tumeliso Ratšiu Kick4life Juniors), Lebusetsa Mofokeng (Linare).