Mat­lama in fine fet­tle but Li­oli still team to beat

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Mat­lama have been very im­pres­sive in their pre­sea­son matches most pun­dits have put their money on them win­ning the 2015/16 premier league ti­tle.

I must say it is re­ally dif­fi­cult to dis­miss this sug­ges­tion be­cause in­deed Tse Put­soa have looked like a team on a mis­sion, es­pe­cially af­ter beat­ing ri­vals and de­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons li­oli 2-0 in the pre-sea­son Al­liance Win­ter Tour­na­ment fi­nal played at Setsoto Sta­dium on Sun­day.

While the nine-time league cham­pi­ons have not made big changes to their squad in terms of buy­ing new play­ers, the team has looked very or­gan­ised which is some­thing I have not seen at this club in a very long time. It looks like new coach Moses Maliehe was the miss­ing link at the club, where he has linked-up with many of the play­ers he coached at na­tional ju­nior team level over the years.

Against Li­oli, the Sea Point-based out­fit were very solid at the back, with their key man, Nkau lerotholi, at his de­fen­sive best once again.

like I said, Maliehe ap­pears to have re­ju­ve­nated sev­eral play­ers who failed to rise to the oc­ca­sion last sea­son, re­sult­ing in Mat­lama end­ing the cam­paign in fourth po­si­tion.

It must also be noted Tse Put­soa were the only team to beat Free State Stars dur­ing last month’s pre­sea­son tour­na­ment held in Mafeteng that also in­cluded hosts Bantu and premier­ship new­com­ers liphakoe.

How­ever, while I agree Mat­lama have looked good in pre­sea­son, they should also be warned that the league cham­pi­onship is a marathon which re­quires en­durance and con­sis­tence.

a big chal­lenge for Maliehe and his charges will also come from the ex­ec­u­tive whose in­fight­ing and in­com­pe­tence have af­fected the per­for­mance of the team over the years. Mat­lama last won the league ti­tle in 2009/10, with li­oli and LCS clinch­ing it twice each since then and Bantu once.

this statis­tic tells it all — that all has not been well at Tse Put­soa hence their fail­ure to chal­lenge for the league ti­tle over re­cent sea­sons.

the 2-0 score­line over li­oli aside, I could see there is still a lot of work for Maliehe for Mat­lama to re­turn to their glory days.

Sta­tis­tics will show that con­sis­tency was the main rea­son li­oli won the league ti­tle last sea­son and the same goes for Bantu the previous year.

Mat­lama would need to be equally con­sis­tent if they are to break li­oli and Bantu’s re­cent dom­i­nance of do­mes­tic foot­ball.

Yet to achieve this will not be easy be­cause li­oli re­main the team to beat based on the qual­ity and depth in their squad, while Bantu also have a lot to prove un­der new coach Katiso Mo­jakhomo.

With that said, I would want to pass my con­do­lences to the fam­ily of former li­oli and le­sotho Premier league Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee spokesper­son, Moeketsi Pitso, who passed away last Satur­day in Bloem­fontein af­ter a long ill­ness.

Ntate Pitso’s sud­den death has been heart­break­ing to many in the foot­ball fam­ily. Per­son­ally, I had so many en­coun­ters with Ntate Pitso that I don’t even know where to start de­scrib­ing his pas­sion for the beau­ti­ful game and ta­lent in pro­mot­ing the brand that li­oli are to­day.

this iconic ad­min­is­tra­tor was the long­est- serv­ing mem­ber of the li­oli ex­ec­u­tive and his un­timely death will not only be felt by his fam­ily and li­oli, but all of us who worked with him week-in-and-week-out. Rest In Peace P-man.

Li­oli de­fender Shet­sane Ra­boseka tack­les Mat­lama play­maker Phafa Tšosane, while Tšoanelo Koe­tle and Mote­bang Sera rush to col­lect the loose ball on Sun­day.

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