Premier league ac­tion is back!

. . . Vo­da­com Premier League ex­plodes into life this week­end.

Lesotho Times - - News - Mikia Kalati

The 2015/16 Vo­da­com Premier League sea­son ex­plodes into life on Satur­day with a dou­ble-header at Setsoto Sta­dium pit­ting de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Li­oli against Sun­dawana, while LCS face Kick­4life.

The Lcs/kick­4life tie kicks-off the cam­paign at 1pm, with Li­oli and Sun­dawana com­plet­ing the block­buster fix­ture which is ex­pected to set the tone for what pun­dits and teams alike, ex­pect to be a close and thrilling fight for do­mes­tic foot­ball’s most pres­ti­gious ti­tle whose win­ner pock­ets a cool M200 000.

Last sea­son, Li­oli were run­away win­ners of the ti­tle with the previous sea­son’s win­ners, Bantu, end­ing the sea­son in sec­ond place, but af­ter teams such as Mat­lama and LMPS boosted their squads dur­ing the off­sea­son, pre­dict­ing the out­come of the cam­paign would not be easy.

Li­oli at­tack­ing mid­fielder, Mon­toeli Sonopo, told the Le­sotho Times that Tse Nala are even stronger this sea­son and want noth­ing but the max­i­mum three points against Sun­dawana to set the “right” tone for the 26-match sea­son.

The Tey­ateya­neng-based cham­pi­ons lost 2-0 to Mat­lama in the fi­nal of the Al­liance Win­ter tour­na­ment last Sun­day at Setsoto but Sonopo is not read­ing much into the heavy de­feat.

The mid­fielder also said the team was de­ter­mined to win the game and ul­ti­mately the league cham­pi­onship in hon­our of the le­gendary Moeketsi Pitso — Li­oli’s longserv­ing pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer who passed away last Satur­day af­ter a long ill­ness.

“From what I have seen, the team is much stronger than it was last sea­son and I’m con­fi­dent we will win the match in mem­ory and hon­our of Ntate Pitso,” Sonopo said.

“Sun­day’s loss to Mat­lama was a wakeup call to us all be­cause I feel the qual­ity in our team makes it un­stop­pable this sea­son.”

“There is com­pe­ti­tion for a start­ing place in the team and that makes it more dan­ger­ous be­cause no-one wants to dis­ap­point if given an op­por­tu­nity to play among such a large pool of tal­ented play­ers. I pre­dict another mem­o­rable sea­son for us; we have pre­pared very well for the long sea­son ahead and it’s now all-sys­tems-go,” said Sonopo.

how­ever, Sun­dawana pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Bokang Pha­sumane, said Li­oli are in for a shock come Satur­day.

“We have bought new, qual­ity play­ers and our prepa­ra­tions have also been very suc­cess­ful. We won a pre-sea­son tour­na­ment that fea­tured Lik­ila United, Mad­uma and Butha-buthe War­riors and the team is look­ing ex­tremely good as we head into the new sea­son,” Pha­sumane said.

“The good thing also is that our coach, Freeze Ntene, has re­cov­ered from a short ill­ness and is back with the team. We will give the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons a run for their money on Satur­day.”

Af­ter hold­ing their own in their de­but sea­son in the premier­ship last sea­son, Kick­4life go into their sec­ond topflight cam­paign with more con­fi­dence, ac­cord­ing to head-coach Mot­lalepula Ma­joro.

Ac­cord­ing to Ma­joro, his charges would be fight­ing to se­cure a top-eight fin­ish that not only guar­an­tees sur­vival from rel­e­ga­tion but also par­tic­i­pa­tion in the LNIG Top8 tour­na­ment. That jour­ney to suc­cess be­gins on Satur­day against LCS, and Ma­joro talks about the match with such con­fi­dence.

“Our pre­sea­son prepa­ra­tions went very well although things were very slow at the be­gin­ning due to one or two is­sues, but I be­lieve we are ready for the big task ahead of us,” Ma­joro said.

“We did not make any ma­jor sign­ings as I pre­fer to work with young play­ers. The new play­ers we have here were pro­moted from our youth team as well as one young­ster from Mat­lama, who I be­lieve will add value to our cause and help us com­pete for a top- eight fin­ish.”

On his part, Bantu for­ward Mokone Marabe said the team was in high spir­its fol­low­ing the ar­rival of new coach Katiso Mo­jakhomo.

“All we want now is to get back to ac­tion be­cause we have done ev­ery­thing to pre­pare our­selves for the sea­son,” Marabe said.

“It will not mat­ter who will be in the start­ing line-up in our league-opener against LMPS on Sun­day; our sup­port­ers should ex­pect fire­works when we take to the field to set a marker right from the be­gin­ning.”

New Mat­lama coach, Moses Maliehe said his team is brim­ming with con­fi­dence af­ter the em­phatic 2-0 win against Tse Nala last Sun­day.

“We just want the games to be­gin so that we con­tinue with our good run,” Maliehe said.

“I’m happy with the per­for­mance of the team, but there is al­ways room for im­prove-

ment.”

Full week­end fix­tures Satur­day: Li­oli v Sun­dawana (Set­so­to3pm); LCS v Kick­4life (Setsoto 1pm); Linare v FC Likhopo (hlotse-3pm).

Sun­day: LDF v Mphat­lalat­sane (Ratjo­mose-3pm); Liphakoe v Lik­ila (Quthing3pm); Mat­lama v Rovers (Pitso Ground3pm); LMPS v Bantu (PTC-3PM).

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