Li­oli face Bantu test

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Vo­da­com Pre­mier League ac­tion is back in full swing with Bantu bat­tling Li­oli on Sun­day at Set­soto and Lik­ila United host­ing mat­lama on the same day in the pick of the week­end matches.

on Satur­day Sun­dawana will be en­ter­tain­ing Linare in Butha-buthe and Kick­4life fac­ing LMPS at old Europa Ground. on Sun­day, in ad­di­tion to the Lik­ila United/ mat­lama clash in ButhaButhe, Liphakoe face Likhopo in Quthing, mphat­lalat­sane slug-it-out with LCS in ma­put­soe and Rovers re­ceive LDF at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho (NUL).

Li­oli coach, mosholu ‘Shoes’ mokhothu, on Tues­day told the Le­sotho Times he was a wor­ried man head­ing into the week­end’s big match as his play­ers did not train to­gether for close to one month be­cause of their in­volve­ment with the na­tional team.

Tse Nala were last in ac­tion on 2 oc­to­ber when they de­feated mphat­lat­sane 2-0 at Set­soto, but re­main top of the 14team premier­ship ta­ble with 16 points from six matches. Bantu, on the other hand, lie 10th on the ta­ble with eight points from six games and are des­per­ate for vic­tory to re­main in con­tention for their sec­ond pre­mier league ti­tle af­ter win­ning the cov­eted sil­ver­ware for the first time in 2013/14.

“The break re­ally af­fected us due to the num­ber of play­ers we had in the na­tional side,” mokhothu said.

“other clubs might have ben­e­fit­ted from the break by get­ting their houses in or­der, but for us, we were en­joy­ing an un­beaten run and have to start all over again.”

mokhothu also said some of his key play­ers were in­jured while on na­tional duty and might not be fully fit to face their bit­ter ri­vals this week­end.

“It’s an im­por­tant match, also bear­ing in mind that next week­end, we be­gin de­fend­ing our top-four ti­tle,” said mokhothu.

“But this is foot­ball; there is noth­ing we can do about it. We just have to soldier on and go all out to win the match.

“Games against Bantu are al­ways dif­fi­cult and a win will help us go into next week­end’s in­de­pen­dence tour­na­ment highly mo­ti­vated.”

on his part, Bantu care­taker coach, caswell moru, said the break could not have come at a bet­ter time for the tot­ter­ing mafeteng-based gi­ants.

moru and mos­ito matela were ap­pointed care­taker coaches fol­low­ing the dis­missal of Katiso mo­jakhomo early this month.

“We re­ally needed the break to get things right af­ter a dif­fi­cult start to the sea­son, so for us, it was a big ad­van­tage as we played some friendly matches to work on our com­bi­na­tions.

“I be­lieve peo­ple will see a big im­prove­ment when we play Li­oli at the week­end,” moru said.

mean­while, resur­gent Sun­dawana host Linare in Butha-buthe still mourn­ing the death of two of their play­ers — de­fend­ers Lebo­hang mata­mane and Libe maphothomane, who were laid to rest last Satur­day.

Linare pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Re­filoe makhobot­lane, told the Le­sotho Times: “It’s a dif­fi­cult time for us but we will do our best to over­come the pain of los­ing two of our play­ers and de­liver a pos­i­tive re­sult since our start to the sea­son was not that good.

“The play­ers are hav­ing ses­sions with a psy­chol­o­gist this week and hope­fully, this will help them cope with the loss of their two col­leagues.

“We have not done well against th­ese smaller teams, while we man­aged to get re­sults against big­ger sides, so the chal­lenge is to work on the in­con­sis­tency and give ev-

ery match the re­spect it de­serves,” he said.

Full week­end fix­tures

Satur­day: Sun­dawana v Linare (ButhaButhe), Kick­4life v LMPS (old Europa). Sun­day: Bantu v Li­oli (Set­soto sta­dium) Lik­ila United v mat­lama (Butha-buthe), Liphakoe v Likhopo (Quthing), mphat­lalat­sane v LCS (ma­put­soe), Rovers v LDF (NUL).

Li­oli mid­fielder Lekhanya Lekhanya (left) runs with the ball while Bantu de­fender Thapelo Mokhehle closes in dur­ing a Pre­mier League tie in this file pic­ture.

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