South Africa coach David Notoane is wary of opponents Lesotho ahead of their African Nations Championship qualifier starting this weekend.
Lesotho have reached the semi-finals of the COSAFA Cup for the last three years, in including recently in Durban, and will have largely the same home-based side available for the Chan qualifier.
South Africa, by contrast, had to negotiate with clubs for the release of players, with Notoane seeking to use the tie as preparation as well for his African Under-23 Championship qualifier against Zimbabwe in early September.
“We saw the performance of Lesotho at the COSAFA Cup and they are a very experienced team, with very much a locally-based squad of players,” Notoane says.
“From our side, I ideally wanted of a complement of locally-based Under-23 players, but with clubs at various points in their pre-season preparations, it has been a challenge to get their release
“It is about building momentum with the under-23 team, but also respecting the clubs with the new season kicking off in two weeks.”
Notoane has also settled for a shorter camp ahead of the first leg, which will be played in Maseru on Sunday.
“Camp usually starts on the Sunday, but with teams travelling in pre-season, I thought we would make it a three-day so as not to destabilise them.
“From there we will have the whole week together ahead of the second leg.” NW