In­de­pen­dence football fi­esta

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LCS Ground to­mor­row plays host to a Vo­da­com Premier League dou­ble-header fea­tur­ing in-form Likhopo against in­con­sis­tent Bantu, as well as LCS ver­sus strug­gling Lik­ila United.

The football car­ni­val could not have come at a bet­ter time as it co­in­cides with Le­sotho’s 50th in­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions.

Likhopo are in fine form and lie sec­ond on the 14-team ta­ble with 11 points — two be­hind log-lead­ers and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Li­oli.

On the other hand, Bantu wade into Fri­day’s tie un­der a care­taker tech­ni­cal team fol­low­ing Mon­day’s dis­missal of head-coach Katiso Mo­jakhomo.

A Matšo Mate­bele sacked Mo­jakhomo for the team’s poor start to the sea­son, and go into to­mor­row’s match oc­cu­py­ing sixth po­si­tion on the log.

Likhopo coach Sha­lane Le­hohla, who is en­joy­ing a good run since his ap­point­ment to the post in Au­gust, says con­fi­dence is very high in camp and ex­pects yet another im­pres­sive show from his charges.

“Well, I can­not give away our se­cret to the suc­cess we are cur­rently en­joy­ing, but what I can tell you is I have al­lowed the play­ers the free­dom to play ac­cord­ing to their strengths as most of them are quite young and still learn­ing the ropes,” Le­hohla said on Tues­day.

“For me, it is how you work with peo­ple that will give good re­sults at the end of the day and I think play­ing to their strengths has re­ally helped us be where we are to­day.”

The for­mer Likuena midfielder, who has also coached youth teams at LCS, told the Le­sotho Times his young squad can give the big guns a good fight on their day.

“This is the first time I am hav­ing this re­spon­si­bil­ity of head­ing the tech­ni­cal team of a premier league club and I will not put my­self un­der pres­sure.

“But like any coach, my wish is to go all the way and win the league ti­tle,” said Le­hohla.

“I’m still learn­ing and we will take it one game at a time. We have a good mix of young and ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and I’m happy with how things have gone for us so far.

“We will con­tinue work­ing hard and our ap­proach against Bantu on Fri­day will be the same — work­ing hard and re­spect­ing our op­po­nents.”

Af­ter a goal­less draw against Liphakoe on Sun­day which led to Mo­jakhomo’s dis­missal, Bantu care­taker coach Caswell Moru is hop­ing the team finds its rhythm once again.

Moru is hold­ing the Bantu fort along­side Mos­ito Matela as man­age­ment looks for a sub­stan­tive coach for the 2013/14 league cham­pi­ons.

“We are in charge as care­taker-coaches and the first step is to look at where it went wrong for the team in pre­vi­ous matches,” Moru said.

“How­ever, the plan is not to make a lot of changes but bring the sta­bil­ity that seemed to be miss­ing in those matches, as well as new meth­ods to turn the team’s for­tunes around.”

Moru, who is the club’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, in­sists A Matšo Mate­bele still have a good squad ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing for hon­ours.

“It is a mat­ter of help­ing the play­ers re­gain their con­fi­dence, and I be­lieve re­sults will then fol­low,” he added.

Mean­while, in other premier­ship matches sched­uled for to­mor­row, LDF host Mat­lama at Ratjo­mose Ground.

The two teams are the most suc­cess­ful in do­mes­tic football, with Mat­lama boast­ing nine league ti­tles while LDF have won the cham­pi­onship eight times.

How­ever, the army side head into Fri­day’s en­counter look­ing for their first win of the sea­son, while Tse Put­soa have been vic­to­ri­ous three times, drawn once and lost one match so far this cam­paign.

To­mor­row’s other match sees log-lead­ers Li­oli host Mphat­lalat­sane at Set­soto Sta­dium, while on Satur­day, LMPS play Rovers at PTC Ground, Sun­dawana face Liphakoe in Ma­put­soe and Linare take on Kick­4life in Hlotse.

Week­end fix­tures at a glance Fri­day: Likhopo v Bantu (LCS Ground3pm), LCS v Lik­ila United (LCS Ground1pm), LDF v Mat­lama (Ratjo­mose Ground), Li­oli v Mphat­lalat­sane (Set­soto Sta­dium).

Satur­day: LMPS v Rovers (PTC), Sun­dawana v Liphakoe (Ma­put­soe), Linare v Kick­4life (Hlotse).

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