Likuena shifts the focus to the COSAFA Cup.

Lesotho team during the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2026 game between Lesotho and Rwanda at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on 11 June 2024 ©Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix


MASERU- After a mixed fortune at the recent 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Likuena will shift the focus to the COSAFA Cup. The 2024 COSAFA Cup draw was conducted last Friday, with Likuena having been pitted in Group C against Angola, Namibia, and the Seychelles.This year’s COSAFA Cup will take place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from June 26 to July 7. Likuena reached the final of last year’s COSAFA Cup, which was held in Durban, where they lost 1-0 to Zambia’s Chipolopolo. Football analysts say Likuena could once again put up a better performance in the tournament. “We have a very good squad, and so we can qualify if we do not panic, said CCX FC’s Coach Caswel Thibinyane. “Our problem is the approach. The fact that we played against Zambia before (and lost) could see us approaching our game against them (if the two teams meet again in the knockout stage) consciously. That’s the problem we are facing.”

 Thibinyane said if Likuena could play like they did against the Warriors of Zimbabwe in the recent 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, there’s no doubt that Leslie Notsi’s charges would outclass their opponents in the COSAFA Cup. Likuena beat the Warriors 2-0. “We played against Zimbabwe, and we played well,” he said.  “We were not too defensive or too conscious, and as a result, we managed to win that match.” After the famous victory against the Warriors, Likuena lost their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier (1-0) to Rwanda. “When we played against Rwanda, we were too conscious, and as a result, we ended up conceding a goal, which cost us the game.

 “That’s what I am talking about when I say we are conscious of certain teams.” Thibinyane said if Likuena continues to play like they did against Rwanda, their chances of proceeding to the next stage of the COSAFA Cup are very slim. Bantu coach James Madidilane also thinks Likuena could repeat their 2023 COSAFA Cup performance.“I think the only challenge Likuena might face is against Namibia because both teams are currently doing well,” said Madidilane. “But Likuena stands a good chance, looking at their line-up or team selection. They don’t have many changes in their team; hence, I think now the players know each other and understand what the coaches want.” Madidilane shared the same sentiment with Thibinyane in that Likuena would outclass their opponents if they played like they did against the Warriors in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

 “So should they stick to their game plan and play like they did against Zimbabwe? I see Likuena progressing from the group stage to the last 8 or last 4 and making it to the final,” he said. But Madidilane, who is also the former Likuena assistant coach, is worried about the speed of the Angolan team. “Angola is a country that has had speedy players all these years. They are very aggressive and play high-intensity games. “If we can match their speed, I don’t see Likuena losing against either Angola or the Seychelles.” Madidilane, however, said he did not have enough information about the Seychelles team.

 “I cannot talk much about the Seychelles because I don’t know much about them, but I am more worried about Namibia.” But Madidilane said that in terms of quality, Likuena and Namibia are both good. “They are both equally good. I would say that, but what is going to matter is who wants it more on that day; who his players are going to execute the game plan.” Madidilane further reiterated that Likuena would make it to the final. “I would say they will proceed to the final provided that they use the same approach that they used against Zimbabwe.

 “I saw a team that was not scared or worried about the opposition. They defended well against Zimbabwe. Their transition to attack from defence was superb. The same thing applies when they were defending.” LDF ladies coach Lengana Nkhethoa said Group C may not be an easy group for Likuena like other people thought. “One may say it’s one of the easiest groups for Likuena, but I can say it’s one of the toughest groups in the tournament,” said Nkhethoa. “It is tough because Likuena performed well last year, and as a result, they are going to be a targeted team in the tournament.” Looking at Likuena’s opponents, particularly Angola, Nkhethoa said they did not give. 

 “I had a chance to watch Angola in the COSAFA Cup last year. They can play the very same style we are playing in Southern Africa, and what I have also realised is that they are not giving up. “They have a fighting spirit, and that works for them sometimes.” But Nkhethoa said Likuena was also a formidable team to play against. “We have a team, and what we just need to do is work on our finishing and confidence.

 “Yes, we can say physically, technically, and tactically we are fine, but we are psychologically not fine, and we still need to work on that aspect.” Nkhethoa also said Likuena would need to work on their defence. “Our defenders must be ready for anything because in football we have transition, either after we lose or after we win the ball,” he said.

 Just like Angola, Nkhethoa said Namibia could also be a tough team to play against. “Namibia also has a good team, but having watched them play against Likuena recently (in a friendly match that ended in a 1-1 draw three weeks ago), I can say that if we could stick to our playing style, there is no team that can beat us. “We just need to improve our speed, finish, and transition from defence to attack and from attack to defence. Nkhethoa said that just like Angola, the Seychelles team has a fighting spirit. 

“I don’t have much to say about the Seychelles, but looking at their last year’s performance (in the COSAFA Cup), I can say they are one of the teams who have fighting spirit. “They don’t pose that much of a of a threat, but they are improving and Likuena needs to be careful when playing against such teams.” Likuena coach Leslie Notsi has since named his 23-man squad for the upcoming COSAFA Cup.

Likuena squad at the glance


Sekhoane Moerane

Ntsane Molise

Tankiso Chaba


Motlomelo Mkhwanazi

Fusi Matlabe

Thato Sefuli

Rethabile Mokokoane

Rethabile Rasethunts’a

Thabo Matšoele

Thabo Mokhele

Thabang Malane


Lisema Lebokollane

Lehlohonolo Matsau

Tšepo Toloane

Tlotliso Phatsisi

Tšepang Sefali

Tumelo Khutlang

Teboho Letsema

Lehlohonolo Fothoane

Tswarelo Bereng


Jane Thabantšo

Lemohang Lintša

Motebang Sera