Anx­ious times at Li­oli

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

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.

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