Matlama and likhopo will be fighting to remain in the LNIG top8 tournament when they face LDF and LCS respectively this weekend.
LDF beat Matlama 1-0 in the tournament’s first leg quarterfinal match two weeks ago, while likhopo lost by the same margin to LCS, also a fortnight ago.
However, the do-or-die return fixtures take place at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday, and promise fireworks as both Matlama and likhopo would be out to overturn the firstleg deficits and remain on course for the M100 000 winners’ prize.
Matlama coach, Moses Maliehe, believes his charges have the pedigree to beat LDF in Sunday’s fixture and make it into the next stage of the annual tournament.
Tse Putsoa showed character last weekend by coming from two goals down to force a 2-2 all draw against LMPS and Maliehe says the players would need to show that kind of fighting spirit to prevail over the army side.
Maliehe also said the players need to avoid unnecessary mistakes if they are to prevail over the army outfit.
“the team has been making unnecessary mistakes which have cost us matches, and I believe we should not have conceded those two goals against LMPS,” Maliehe said.
“the players need to be disciplined and get the basics right in order to win such matches.
“the fixture against LDF is a big one and we have to get the goals that can help us go to the semifinal stage.”
Meanwhile, lioli and Bantu will be confident of booking places in the semifinal when they play Sundawana and likila United on Saturday, respectively.
Tse Nala beat Sundawana 4-1 in the first leg match played at Setsoto stadium while Matšo Matebele have a 3-0 advantage ahead
Aof Saturday’s second leg tie.
Bantu coach Bafokeng Mohapi — the third man to take charge of the Mafetengbased outfit since the start of the 2015/16 season — believes his charges have a chance of making up for their uninspiring league campaign by winning the LNIG top8 trophy.
“We continue to work hard in an effort to improve our poor league campaign because it has been a tough journey for us,” Mohapi said.
“We did very well to beat likila 3-0 in the first leg of the top8, but we will not relax because I know they are going to come for the second leg seeking revenge.
“So in short, the fight is not over despite the comfortable lead we carry from the first leg.”
Mohapi said he was happy with the progress his team has made under his leadership. “I think there is a big difference now, com- pared to where the team was when I took over (last month). the level of confidence among the players is much better as well as their fitness, which was worrying when I came in.”
Bantu have won three times, drawn one match and lost once since Mohapi took over the reins.
“We just have to keep improving and I’m confident we will make it to the semifinals of the top8 this weekend.”
On the other hand, lioli would be confident of continuing their dominance over Sundawana after emerging victorious on all the three occasions they have faced-off this season. LNIG TOP8 SECOND LEG QUARTERFINAL
FIXTURES Saturday: Sundawana v lioli (Maputsoe DIFA Ground), Bantu v likila (leshoboro Complex Ground). Sunday: likhopo v LCS (LCS Ground), Matlama v LDF (LCS Ground).