Anxious times at Lioli
Premier league log-leaders, Lioli, failed to get the much-needed win in the two matches they played over the easter holiday, drawing both ties and ultimately reducing their lead to just three points with three matches to go before the curtain comes down on the season .
Tse Nala started the weekend with a one-all draw against second-placed Bantu last Friday but had to come back from behind after the home team had scored first, to thunderous applause from the bumper crowd at Leshoboro Stadium.
Both teams were in action again on monday, with Bantu edging matlama 1-0 in mafeteng while Lioli were held to a goalless draw by relegation-threatened mphatlalatsane in St monica’s.
These are surely worrying times for Tse Nala’s coaches because they cannot afford to slip-up at this time of the campaign having dominated the season for so long.
There is no doubt this is going to be a big challenge for mosholu ‘Shoes’ mokhothu in his team’s remaining matches if they are hoping to wrestle the league title away from Bantu.
The Teyateyaneng-based team will play Linare, Likhopo and Kick4life in their remaining fixtures and surely it is not going to be easy to get the three points as their opponents also desperately need them.
On the part of Bantu, they still have to play LDF, mphatlalatsane and Linare and nothing suggests these are going to be easy fixtures either.
With Bantu slowly but surely creeping on Lioli, credit should go to their coach, motlatsi Shale, who never threw in the towel even when it appeared Lioli were running away with the title.
A Matšo Matebele have been very consistent since playing in the 2015 African Champions League and also reinforcing their team with quality players over recent transfer-windows.
i have also been impressed with the performance of former national under-20 midfielder, Hlompho Kalake, who has taken his game to another level since moving to Bantu from matlama. Last Friday, Kalake was outstanding against Lioli and i hope he will continue to keep his feet on the ground because he has the potential to go far with his career as age is still on his side.
One thing is for sure, though; we are going to see a photo-finish to the league campaign as the race has since been reduced to a two-team contest between Bantu and Lioli. i must say, while i would have wanted teams like matlama and LCS to be also involved in this exciting run-in as the rivalry between Bantu and matlama is still very much interesting.
Talking of matlama, i’m very disappointed with the team’s inconsistency over recent weeks. I expected them to do far much better especially after adding mabuti Potloane, Nkau Lerotholi and Kopano motaung to their already strong squad, in the January transfer-window.
They showed us that they have what it takes to take on anyone, during the independence Cup in October last year where the knocked out Bantu before losing to Lioli in the final on penalties.
But i have this feeling that their coaches have failed their supporters as they have struggled to get the best out of their talented team.i think i agree with their supporters who have recently shown their displeasure with the coaching at the club.
With that said, i wish all the teams the best of luck as the league draws to a close.
i also wish to congratulate motlokoa Nkhabutlane, who won the Two Oceans marathon in Cape Town on Sunday, walking away with the winner’s prize of m250 000 in the process.
Nkhabutlane deserves a lot of praise as he has continued to do our country proud at the highest level. LIOLI Football Club president, Lebohang Thotanyana, is set to step down as premier league chairman following his recent appointment as minister of mining.
Thotanyana on Tuesday confirmed he would soon be relinquishing his premiership post but continue leading Lioli, who are on course for the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League title.
“i’m not leaving football because i will remain the president of Lioli. i will only step down as premier league chairman and am currently making preparations for a proper handover/takeover,” Thotanyana said.
An accountant by profession, Thotanyana was elected premier league boss in August 2011, replacing Tlholo Letete. Under his tenure, the league has managed to attract new sponsors and retain old ones, and the minister says he leaves the premiership post satisfied that he had played his part in elevating domestic football to a respectable level.
Thotanyana, who was elected Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) second vicepresident in December 2012 but left the post in a huff last year, insisted the game was realising exponential growth under his leadership.
“i’m very proud of what we have achieved with my premier league colleagues since taking over as chairman in 2011. We have brought a lot of stability into the league and have also been getting long-term sponsorship deals, which had been difficult in the past,” said Thotanyana.
According to Thotanyana, one of the reasons why the topflight league had become more competitive over recent years was through revamping its administrative structure.
“For instance, some people did not buy into our idea of having a fulltime premier league administrator, who was going to be in charge of the office on a daily basis. How- ever, we still went ahead and appointed Baitsi motsamai last year, which has helped us grow as a league, and of-course, attract more sponsorship.
“in fact, the premier league is now more stable financially than it has ever been, which is one of the things that makes me proud as I prepare to leave office,” said Thotanyana, who pointed out long-term deals for the independence Cup bankrolled by metropolitan Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank, as well as the Top8 competition sponsored by LNIG, among some of the success stories of his tenure.
meanwhile, Thotanyana pledged support for his successor and said football would always remain close to his heart.
“Well, i’m not leaving football completely as i will still be involved at Lioli and will also be available to support the new chairman,” Thotanyana said.
“His main challenge will be taking the league to another level, since we have done well as an executive.”
Premier LEAGUE CHAIRMAN LEBOHANG Thotanyana (In suit) presents Bantu with THEIR 2015 LNIG Top8 trophy In this file picture.