MASERU – The Lesotho Under-20 and Under-17 national teams, Makoanyane XI and Bahlabani, have been trooped in for winter camps ahead of the busy planned schedules this year. According to the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), the two teams hold the winter camps to intensify preparations for this year’s youth regional tournaments. Makoanyane XI are preparing for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Under-20 Championship while Bahlabani are preparing for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games.
The COSAFA Under-20 Championship is set to take place in Eswatini from October 6 to 16 while the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games have been scheduled for December in Malawi. The two teams began the winter camps on Monday this week. “The Lesotho National U-17 and U-20 teams started a week long camp on Monday, as they step up their preparations for regional tournaments to be played later this year,” reads LeFA press realease.
“Bahlabani are scheduled to take part in the Region 5 AUSC games to be held in Malawi in December while Makoanyane XI will play at the COSAFA U-20 Championship to be held hosted by Eswatini in November.” Makoanyane XI is under the guidance of Bafokeng Mohapi as the team’s head coach and Bahlabani under the watchful eye of coach Motolo Makepe. “Both coach Motolo Makepe and Bafokeng Mohapi have made several changes to their respective teams bringing in new faces to replace players that have graduated to the U-20 and U-23 respectively,” reads a LeFA press release.
The upcoming COSAFA Under-20 Championship is going to be the 28th edition. Makoanyane XI took part in all the 27 previous editions of the championship. However, the Lesotho under-20 side is yet to win the competition. The team’s best performance in the tournament was reaching the final three times, in 1990, 2005 and 2017. This year’s COSAFA Under-20 Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations which is scheduled for February next year in Egypt. The top two teams in Eswatini will advance to the under-20 continental tournament.