Mat­lama face LCS

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

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.

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