Lesotho coach Thabo Senong has named his provisional squad for the historic 20th COSAFA Cup to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 7-18.
The South African-born coach has dropped several of his key players following a poor showing at the recent Three Nations tournament in Maputo that was also marred by off-the-field incidents. Lesotho lost both matches to Mozambique and Eswatini.
The COSAFA Cup makes a return after last year's edition of the tournament was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lesotho's Crocodiles reached the semi-finals in the last three editions of the competition, including winning bronze in 2018.
"Of course, the main objective is to do well in the tournament. We obviously had to be brave when we bring in new players, you also have to maybe exclude some, especially players that have been in the set-up for some time," Senong told a press conference.
"But then again, you have to be mindful that the youth that you are bringing into the team still have to be gelled and mixed with experienced players because you want to balance that competitiveness in the team as much as are developing and rebuilding the team.
"With regard with the criteria, it's always important to look at the character of the player, is he coachable, can he integrate with new players, new coaches, is he disciplined, and does he understand the importance of representing the badge/national flag? Those are some of the things we look at."
Lesotho provisional squad for COSAFA
Goalkeepers: Sekhoane Moerane (LMPS) Teboho Ratibisi (LDF), Jersey Matsie (Lioli).
Defenders: Thabang Malane (LCS), Mokoteli Mohapi (K4L), Thabo Mongali (LDF), Bokang Sello (Bantu), Lesia Thetsane (Kaw Valley-US), Kopano Tseka (LCS), Lisema Lebokollane (Matlama), Basia Makepe (LMPS), Nkau Lerotholi (LMPS), Rethabile Rasethuntsa (Linare), Shali Lekhotla (Lifofane), Kabai Mohlatsana (Gadner Web(US).
Midfielders: Thabo Lesaoana (Bantu), Koenehelo Mothala (Linare), Tumelo Ngatane (LCS), Ts'epo Toloane (LDF), Koete Mohloai (LDF), Tseole Ranthimo (Linare), Tshwarelo Bereng (TTM-SA), Neo Mokhachane (Bantu), Jane Tsotleho (Bantu), Tumelo Khutlang (Black Leopards), Tumelo Makha (Lioli), Lehlohonolo Fothoane (Bantu), Napo Matsoso (Louisville City-US), Moteloa Khemisi (Matlama ), Thabo Seakhoa (LCS), Jane Thabantso (Matlama).
Forwards: Thabiso Mari (FC Likhopo), Thabiso Brown (EMDH-Bolivia), Motebang Sera (Bloemfontein Celtic), Nkoto Masoabi (unattached), Monyatheli Ntobo (LMPS).