Koetle, Matsoso Return to National Fold

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BANTU midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle and United States (US) based winger Napo Matsoso have been recalled to the senior national soccer team.

The duo is part of the 24-man squad announced by Thabo Senong this week. The team will face eSwatini and Mozambique in friendlies on 2 and 5 June in Mozambique. The friendlies are in preparation for the COSAFA Cup penned in for South Africa in August this year.

Koetle is returning to the national fold three years after he allegedly fell out with the technical team and was dropped from the squad.

Senong said he was happy with the duo’s presence in his team after dropping Koetle in 2019 while Matsoso last played for Likuena in 2017 under Moses Maliehe.

“We have started our training sessions already and I must say that Koetle looked very happy to be in the team and I hope that he takes that energy into our matches,” Senong said.

“We are giving him a chance and I hope he can help the team.

“Matsoso on the other hand, will join the team at a later stage as he is still in the US.”

Senong also watered-down allegations of a rift between the technical team and Koetle. Instead, he said, the number of players called into camp is limited. However, he is happy that he is on board now.

“We are having one-hour sessions in the morning as we want to allow players to train with their respective teams in the afternoon. On Friday they will all report for camp and we will only allow them to join their respective teams for the weekend matches as the plan is to leave the country late on Sunday.”

Senong said the final team for the COSAFA Cup will be selected next month.

“We have a database of 50 players for COSAFA and we have only selected 24 for the two friendlies. However, doors are still open for other players while some may still be dropped.

“In the third week of June, we will start our COSAFA preparations and we will still start with a bigger number and trim the squad later. For now, the two friendlies will tell us how far we are and the areas that we must attend to.”

Senong has also called up some new faces like defender Kabai Mahlatsane who plays for Gardner Webb University.

“We have also called in some new faces abroad the likes of Thabiso Brown (Bolivia), Lesia Thetsane and Kabai who both play in the USA. We will be assessing them through the two friendlies and it is only after that when we can talk about their readiness

Senong admitted that it will not be easy to prepare for COSAFA as the number of players in camp will be limited.

“It is not an easy situation because as much as we need them here, their teams also need them, so we try not to stretch them in our sessions to avoid fatigue. We are trying to strike a balance between them and their teams,” Senong said.

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