Curtain down on exciting round
Defending Vodacom Premier League champions Lioli beat Likhopo 2-1 at the weekend to cement their place at the summit of the 14-team table.
The win meant Tse Nala ended the first half of the season top of the table with 30 points— four ahead of second-placed Matlama who suffered a shock 2-0 defeat against Mphatlalatsane at Pitso ground also at the weekend.
former Likuena coach, Monaheng Monyane (75), who remains an avid follower of the game, believes this season has been “very exciting” due to the unpredictability of the matches.
Unlike in the past, the so-called small teams are refusing to be intimidated and going toe-totoe with the ‘powerhouses’. One does not have to look further than the Matlama/ Mphatlalatsane shocker.
“it has been a very interesting half of the season, i must admit. The fact that the matches have become very unpredictable is good for our football, and is the reason why this has been an exceptional first half of the campaign.
“Look at last season’s champions Lioli! They started the season struggling for results but after a few matches, they finally got their rhythm. “
They had a blip against Bantu and one could sense that they had run out of ideas. But because they are a big team, they soon exorcised their demons and are now top of the table at the halfway stage and in a good position to defend their title,” said Monyane, who played for Matlama in his heyday, and also coached several local teams, among them Rovers.
“He also coached Lesotho to the final of the 2000 Cosafa tournament, which Likuena eventually lost to Zimbabwe.
“However, the fine run remains Likuena’s greatest accomplishment and secured Monyane a place in the country’s football Hall of fame.
The veteran mentor also spoke of Bantu — a team he said are currently a pale shadow of the side that won their maiden premiership title in 2013/14.
“Bantu have been very poor this season; they are a far cry from the side they have been over the past three seasons,” he said.
“The changes in their technical department at the start of this season might be the major reason why they are having such a poor run. However, despite their struggles in the league, they were impressive on their way to winning the Top4 tournament last month, which could mean they can’t be written off at this stage of the title race.
“They are seventh on the table and remember we are only halfway through the season and there are 13 more matches to play.”
However, Monyane said A Matšo Matebele would have to work hard during this Christmas break if they want to stay in the race for domestic football’s most prestigious and lucrative prize.
On the other hand, Monyane was full of praise for his former club, Matlama.
“They have been one of those exciting teams to watch over the past two seasons or so. Matlama have a very good and balanced team, and as far as individual skill is concerned, they are just superb,” he said.
Monyane also had kind words for Sundawana, who ended the first round third on the premier league table.
“first of all, they have a very good coach in Bob Mafosa, whose passion for football has never been in doubt. i could see the coaching potential in him when i was his mentor at Rovers. That enthusiasm is rubbing onto the players and the results are there for everyone to see,” Monyane said.
“Sundawana have been very consistent of late, and who knows, they might spring a surprise and win the league title.”
Monyane also said Likhopo have been very competitive, which he noted added to the excitement of the season.
“Likhopo have been there in the mix; they led the table for two, three weeks, which says a lot about them. They also have a chance to win the title they last claimed about 10 years ago.”
However, Monyane said it was very disappointing to see LDF, LCS and LMPS struggling considering their glittering past and resources at their disposal.
“These are teams with all the time on their hands to train and the resources to be fully prepared, especially LDF. But they have been such a disgrace to watch; they have just collapsed and it is heartbreaking because they have everything a team might need at our level of the game.”
On Linare, Monyane blamed management for the team’s struggles.
“Their biggest problem is they get confused by their management. everybody in their management knows so much about football to the extent that they are the ones making team-selections and there is no way we can expect positive results from such a club.
“Then there are the likes of Likila, Mphatlalatsane, Liphakoe, Rovers, who are trying their best and making sure the opposition works hard for results, which like i said, is good for our football.”
Asked what he thought of the level of the domestic game compared to other African countries, Monyane said Lesotho has remained stagnant hence teams’ failure to prevail in international ties.
“We are far behind our regional counterparts. There is still a lot we need to do to match our peers and one of the reasons why we struggle is poor administration.
“i don’t think our football will get anywhere with the kind of administration we have at the moment. These people have been in power for too long, yet they have nothing to show for it.
“The only way to get out of this situation is by first being honest with ourselves. We should start telling the truth, otherwise we will always remain the whipping boys of other nations.
“Again, look at some of the players we have in our league.
“You would swear they don’t play in the topflight because they lack basic football tactics, and that tells you the amount of work which still needs to be done to get us to a level where we will be able to compete,” said Monyane.
Former Likuena Coach monaheng monyane