First Division back in action
A Matšo Matebele have a lot on their plate at the moment as they also have to keep pace with Lioli in the league title race, which means concentrating on three crucial competitions at the same time.
The Mafeteng-based outfit have also had to include friendly games against the likes of Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars to their busy schedule in preparations for the continental club competition.
The other team that has to come to the party is Linare, who were far from convincing in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over highlanders in a league match.
Tse Tala play the first leg of the quarterfinals against Likhopo in Maseru on Saturday, but it was clear for everyone to see they are missing the talents of their inspirational captain, Potloane, who was leading the revival of the hlotse-based team for the last three seasons.
The fact that he was able to win the 2013/14 player of the season award yet Linare had not won any trophy, showed he was really the heartbeat of Tse Tala.
The gifted midfielder was leading from the front as Linare finished third in the league last season, as well as reaching the final of the LNIG Top 8, where they eventually lost to Lioli.
Then there is Likhopo — a team that has failed to live up to expectations.
This makes predicting the outcome of their match against Linare very difficult as both sides have been very inconsistent.
however, credit should go to the sponsors of the competition, Lesotho National Insurance Group, (LNIG) who have increased the sponsorship from M300 000 to M600 000.
This development will now see clubs getting more money for their sweat — almost twice what they received last term. REIGNING Vodacom Premier League champions, Bantu, closed in on pacesetters Lioli last weekend.
The Mafeteng-based giants took advantage of Lioli’s failure to beat Sundawana in Butha-buthe on Saturday to reduce the gap between them to five points.
The goalless draw meant Tse Nala could only add one point to their 34, while Bantu were 2-0 winners at Setsoto Stadium against Kick4life, also on Saturday.
Tlali Maile and Litšepe Marabe were on target in the second half for A Matšo Matebele — much to the excitement of the Bantu supporters.
Maile netted the first goal from the penalty spot, while Marabe scored the second to increase his tally to 11 this season.
Meanwhile, third-placed Lesotho Defence The second round of the 2014/15 First Division campaign resumes this weekend following the festive season break.
Liphakoe, who ended the first round at the top of the 10-team Southern Stream with 27 points, start the final stretch of the season with a home match against second-placed Melele on Saturday.
The Quthing-based outfit won all their nine matches of the opening round, only conceding one goal in the process. however, they still prevailed 2-1 over rivals Majantja in that match, which was their last fixture of 2014.
Melele are in second position and trail Liphakoe by eleven points, but have a chance to narrow that gap should they win Saturday’s potential thriller.
In the Northern Stream, Rovers were very impressive and ended the first round leading the 10-team table with 20 points. Force (LDF) beat Nyenye Rovers 1-0 away in St Monica’s on Saturday to also remain in the race for the title.
Mokoenyane Moahloli swept in the only goal of the match, which handed the army side all the three points on offer. The win ensured LDF remained tied on 30 points with Bantu, with the two teams only separated by goal difference.
Matlama are also very much part of the race, as they are in position five, having beaten Mphatlalatsane 2-1 at the LCS Ground, also last Saturday.
Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) also collected maximum points last weekend following a 1-0 win over police outfit, LMPS at Police Training College Ground, courtesy of veteran defender, Moitheri Ntobo. LCS occupy fourth position on the 14-team Premiership table with 27 points, with 12 matches to go before the season comes to
The National University of Lesotho side host Maduma in Roma on Saturday hoping to extend their lead, thereby enhancing their chances of promotion to the Premier League at the end of the campaign.
Second-placed Maseru Naughty Boys, who are three points behind Rovers, will only be in action on Sunday at home against Roaring Lions.
League spokesperson, Mothusi Letsie, on Monday told the Lesotho Times that it’s all systems go for the second round.
“We have held our first round review meeting with club representatives to reflect on our successes as well as failures. The meeting was also to update them on the progress we have made in our search for sponsorship,” Letsie said.
The A Division does not have a sponsor, but Letsie remains confident a benefactor would be found in the second round of the season.
“We are still in talks with some companies a close.
The match between Likhopo and Likila United, which was played in Butha-buthe, also failed to produce any goals.
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts Lioli 14 11 2 1 24 3 21 35 Bantu 14 9 3 2 27 8 19 30 LDF 14 9 3 2 18 12 6 30 LCS 14 8 3 3 15 8 5 27 Matlama 14 7 5 2 16 7 9 26 Likila United 14 5 5 4 16 13 3 20 Linare 14 6 0 8 10 12 -2 18 Sandawana 14 4 4 6 14 20 -6 16 Kick4life 14 4 3 7 16 18 -2 15 Likhopo 14 4 3 7 16 18 -2 15 Nyenye Rovers 14 3 3 8 8 20 -12 12 Mphatlalatsane 14 3 2 9 9 23 -14 11 LMPS 14 2 3 9 9 19 -10 9 Q-highlanders 14 1 5 8 11 28 -17 8 and hopefully, they will come on board.”
Letsie also said their meeting was to remind club officials about regulations that govern the game, as well as other administrative issues.
“The first round was very successful and entertaining, and we would want it to remain that way and avoid controversies that will bring the game into disrepute,” said Letsie.
Full weekend fixtures
Southern Stream Saturday: Mafeteng Stars v Van Rooyen, Sky Battalion v Fisters, Liphakoe v Melele. Sunday: Manonyane v Swallows, Roma Boys v Majantja.
Northern Stream Saturday: Lerotholi Polytechnic v Lithabaneng Golden, Rovers v Maduma, CCX v Galaxy. Sunday: Naughty Boys v Roaring Lions, BB Warriors v Sefothafotha.
Kick4life striker Thabiso Brown (left) is closely marshalled by Bantu’s Thabo Masualle during last weekend’s league match.