Matlama look set for another barren season
MATLAMA’S league title hopes seem to be fading with each passing match following their 1-1 draw against Likhopo last Saturday.
The shared spoils meant Tse Putsoa remained third on the 14-team premiership table behind LCS and log-leaders Lioli.
Tse Putsoa have also had to deal with the blow of being knocked out of the LNIG Top8 tournament in the quarterfinals a fortnight ago and as things stand, it will take something special for them to win the league championship this season.
Of course, Matlama are just three points behind Lioli and trail LCS by a single point, but they have played one game more than the pacesetters.
Lioli are on 37 points from 16 games, while Matlama have 34 points from 17 matches. LCS have 35 points from 17 matches and what should be of concern for Matlama is both teams ahead of them on the table have been winning consistently.
I’m sure Matlama’s inconsistency is worrying to coach Moses Maliehe as a win against Likhopo would have seen them leapfrog LCS into second place.
Back-to-back draws — against LMPS and Likhopo —are not ideal for a team hoping to land the league title, hence this should be cause for concern for the Matlama camp.
With Maliehe likely to quit the team for the national side at the end of the season, it would have been ideal for him to deliver the team’s 10th league title before waving goodbye to club football.
But for this to happen, the players must up their game, otherwise this will be yet an- other trophy-less season for Lesotho’s team with the most league championships.i still feel last month’s departure of defensive stalwart, Nkau Lerotholi, for LMPS will haunt Matlama for the foreseeable future.
Lerotholi is not just any other player, but here we are talking about a defender who has been very consistent at the highest level for close to a decade.
The centre-back also commanded a lot of respect among his teammates at Tse Putsoa and it is clear the team is now struggling because of his absence as he was leading by example having been the captain for so long.
Maybe the best option now would be to give an experienced player such as Mabuti Potloane the armband because as I see it, that responsibility is too heavy for stand-in captain Jane Thabantšo.
Thabantšo is still a young player who still has a lot to learn while Potloane made the most of the responsibility when he was still with Linare before moving to Matlama last season.i know Phafane Tšosane is the captain of the team, but he has been out of the game for a while because of injury.
But just like Thabantšo, I feel he is also not ready to carry the burden which comes with being Matlama captain.
As for Potloane, the midfielder returned to action last weekend after a lengthy layoff due to injury and scored Matlama’s only goal against Likhopo to underline his pedigree.
Maybe what Potloane needs is the captain’s armband to return to his sparkling best because we all know what he can do with the ball no-matter the opposition.
So the sooner Matlama can rediscover their form, the better because Lioli and LCS mean business and don’t look like they will drop points easily like what Matlama have been doing.
Both Lioli and LCS abound with quality and experience and will surely want to make the best of it as the league race enters its final stretch.
Surely Lioli will put more effort into their league campaign now that they have been eliminated from the African Champions League by Vital’ô of Burundi.
And this, by itself, means Matlama cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to win domestic football’s most prestigious prize — the league title.