First Di­vi­sion back in action

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati Mikia Kalati

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.

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