All roads lead to Set­soto

. . . as Mat­lama face bit­ter en­e­mies Li­oli

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

MAT­LAMA have vowed to thrash Li­oli when the two bit­ter en­e­mies clash in a po­ten­tially volatile premier league match set for Satur­day at LCS Ground.

Tse Put­soa lead the 14-team league with 23 points, while Li­oli are se­cond on 21 points. Both gi­ants have played 10 league matches so far this sea­son and to­gether with Bantu, com­mand the big­gest sup­port base in the Vo­da­com Premier League.

Yet it is the long­stand­ing ri­valry be­tween Mat­lama and Li­oli which makes matches be­tween the two sides such a pas­sion­ate af­fair.

“It’s go­ing to be a very tough match and we were back in train­ing yes­ter­day, Mon­day, in­stead of our nor­mal Tues­day, to pre­pare for this match. That, in it­self, tells you how se­ri­ous we are tak­ing this match against Li­oli,” Mat­lama coach Moses Maliehe told the Le­sotho Times.

“Games against Li­oli are never easy, but we are go­ing to be very pre­pared when we face them on Satur­day.”

The two teams met in the semi­fi­nal of the In­de­pen­dence Cup last month, with Tse Nala win­ning the match 2-1, thanks to goals by Ju­nior Maba and Mafa More­mo­holo.

How­ever, Maliehe said it would be a dif­fer­ent ball-game al­to­gether come Satur­day as his charges had taken their game to an­other level since that de­feat.

“We are not yet at the level we would want to be, but I am happy with the team’s progress as we are now top of the ta­ble,” said Maliehe.

“I know Li­oli have more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and a big­ger squad than us, but we have been grind­ing out re­sults even un­der those cir­cum­stances.”

Mat­lama will be with­out their top goalscorer Jane Tha­ban­tšo who is sus­pended and Maliehe has also be­moaned the ab­sence of the ex­pe­ri­enced duo of Pali Tša­long and Mabuti Pot­loane.

On the other hand, Li­oli coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, is a happy man af­ter his side re­turned to win­ning ways with a 2-0 vic­tory over Rovers last week­end.

Tse Nala had failed to win in three con­sec­u­tive league matches be­fore beat­ing the univer­sity side last Satur­day.

“That win against Rovers was a mas­sive boost to the play­ers’ con­fi­dence. The boys had be­come very de­mo­ti­vated since los­ing the In­de­pen­dence Cup to Bantu last month,” Mokhothu said.

“I am now see­ing the happy faces I had be­come used to in train­ing, which tells me we are get­ting back to our best once again.

“It is good we have put the bad spell be­hind us and we will be go­ing for all the three points when we face Mat­lama on Satur­day.”

Mokhothu also spoke of the ri­valry that makes Li­oli/mat­lama matches such clas­sics.

“Th­ese are matches where form does not mat­ter. All we have to do is pre­pare very well be­cause Mat­lama are a good side with a very pas­sion­ate sup­port base, but the same ap­plies to Li­oli, which makes matches be­tween the two sides so spe­cial.

“But hav­ing said that, we want the three points as much as they do,” Mokhothu said.

In other league matches set for Satur­day, Liphakoe host LCS in Quthing, Linare host Lik­ila United in Hlotse, and LMPS wel­come LDF at PTC.

On Sun­day, Kick­4life host Bantu, Sun­dawana are at home against Mphat­lalat­sane and Likhopo en­ter­tain Rovers at LCS Ground.

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