Cur­tain down on ex­cit­ing round

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

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

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