Matlama face LCS
Matlama meet old enemies LCS on Saturday in arguably the pick of the weekend’s Vodacom Premier league matches.
the blood-and-thunder clash is set for Pitso Ground and sees two of the country’s biggest teams square-off at a time both are enjoying a rich vein of form.
Matlama wade into the match top of the 14-team premiership table and in high spirits following back-to-back victories over high-flying Likhopo and Liphakoe.
On the other hand, Masheshena have also been impressive in recent weeks, holding defending league champions lioli to a goalless draw a fortnight ago and defeating Rovers 3-1 on Sunday.
Matlama defender, Nkau lerotholi, has attributed their improved performance to unity and determination to atone for the Independence Cup disappointment.
Tse Putsoa lost their semifinal match against lioli and third-place playoff against LCS early this month.
“We sat down with our technical team and management following our disappointing results in the independence tournament and the meeting has since worked wonders for us,” lerotholi said.
the veteran defender also praised marksman Motebang Sera, who scored a brace in the 3-1 win over liphakoe to take his goals tally this season to seven — just one behind top-scorer lehlomela Ramabele of likhopo.
“I saw his hunger and desire from our pre-season matches.
“He is obsessed with goals even in training so I am not surprised at all with his goal-scoring form,” lerotholi said, adding he was also happy with the maturity shown by his younger teammates.
“they have matured so much that they are not even afraid to confront me when I make mistakes and that shows they have come of age and are taking responsibility.
“this is going to be our approach going into the match against LCS; we will go onto the pitch ready to take responsibility for the outcome of the match,” he said.
However, LCS coach Mpitsa Marai says Saturday’s clash is an ideal opportunity to stop Matlama and close the gap between the two sides.
LCS are sixth on the table and five points behind Matlama. Both sides have played nine matches so far this season.
“the match is a good platform for us to continue with our rise and gives us the chance to close the gap between us,” Marai said.
“It will be an exciting encounter because a win will take us within two points of Matlama.”
the former national team defender also said his target was for LCS to finish the season among the top four sides on the premier league table.
“Football is such an exciting sport because it does not have a formula. a coach can have his target, only to find himself going for even bigger things,” Marai said.
“It happens especially when the players are motivated and ours are very much itching for this tie.
“But I will not put myself and the players under pressure as we are still building an understanding. However, we are ready for Matlama and to go for all the three points on offer.”
Meanwhile, in other league matches scheduled for Saturday, lioli clash with Rovers in Roma. Both sides started the season in rampant form but have found the going tough in recent weeks.
also on Saturday, Bantu host Sundawana at leshoboro Stadium in a potential thriller.
Sundawana are on a five-match unbeaten run, while Bantu have also won their last three matches after a difficult start to the season.
Saturday’s other match sees LDF hosting liphakoe at Ratjomose Barracks.
On Sunday, Kick4life face likhopo at Old Europa, likila United are at home against LMPS, while Mphatlatsane clash with linare in Maputsoe.
Matlama midfielder Tankiso Makhutla (left) fights for the ball with LCS Khethisa Masenyetse in this file pic.