Louisville City midfielder Sunny Jane has earned a call-up to the Lesotho National Team for his nation's upcoming qualifying game vs. Cape Verde.
"It was exciting news," Jane said. "This is one of the most important games in my country. It is a must win so we can qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in our nation's history. It is exciting to be part of that. Hopefully we can make history."
Lesotho, a nation of just over two million people surrounded entirely by South Africa, has two members on Louisville City's team, Jane and Napo Matsoso. Lesotho's National Team is nicknamed Likuena which means The Crocodiles.
Lesotho's match with Cape Verde, a group of islands off the West African coast, will be played on Cape Verde soil on March 24.
"It is an away game, Cape Verde is a very good team," Jane said. "It is going to be a tough game, but just like every game, we have to go in thinking that we can win. It is going to be tough."
Likuena currently stands in second place in their qualifying group, behind only Uganda. If Lesotho beats Cape Verde, currently 4th in the group, and Uganda beats Tanzania as expected, Lesotho would make the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament.
"It would mean the world to us," Jane said. "It would be the first time ever. We are the ones that have that opportunity to change everything for our country. It would put us on the map because not many people know about who Lesotho is so once we make it there everybody is going to be aware of who we are."
Jane will take leave from Louisville City during international competition and rejoin the team shortly after. The Africa Cup of Nations pits the top 24 national teams from Africa during a summer-time tournament every two years.
"We will certainly miss Sunny, but having the opportunity to play for your country is such an incredible honor," Louisville City coach John Hackworth said. Hackworth was an assistant coach with the United States Men's National team and helped develop the youngest stars in the American system.
A local Trinity High graduate in Louisville, Sunny returned to his American home after playing in the Cambodian League last season. Sunny was a prep star and collegiate phenom at Maryland before signing with the Wilimington Hammerheads for two seasons and then the Richmond Kickers for two seasons in 2016-2017.
Louisville City's first home game is Saturday, March 23 at Slugger Field. City will take on Hartford Athletic at 7 p.m. that night.