Mokhothu proud of team
Lioli coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu says he is proud of his charges for withstanding immense pressure to win the LNIG Top8 title last Sunday.
Tse Nala won their second Top8 championship in two years by defeating LCS 1-0 in the final at Setsoto Stadium after hammering LDF 5-0 in the semifinal the previous day at the same venue.
The Teyateyaneng-based side first won the competition in 2014 when the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) took over sponsorship of the annual tournament.
Going into the weekend contest, Lioli were under pressure to replicate their league form but Jerry Kamela’s goal from a free kick sealed the deal against LCS in the final and ensured Tse-nala took home the M100 000 winners’ prize.
In the other semifinal played at the same venue, LCS beat Bantu 1-0 to set a date with Lioli in the final.
However, it was Lioli who smiled all the way to the bank thanks to Kamela’s wonderstrike which also saw him walk away with the goal-of-the-tournament, player-of-thetournament and man-of-the-match awards to pocket M5 000 for the three accolades.
But according to Mokhothu, winning the tournament had not been easy because of the pressure the team was under.
“We came into this competition under a lot of pressure after Matlama cut our lead at the top of the premier league table (the teams are now level on 46 points from 21 matches with five matches to go before the season comes to a close),” Mokhothu said.
“But my players showed character and rose to the occasion to win this trophy for the second time in two years.”
Mokhothu said he told the players to use their skills to get the better of their opponents in the final.
“We have very skillful players who can be a nightmare to any side on their day and the team was also boosted by the return of Bushy Moletsane, who is a very good ball-player,” said Mokhothu.
“But I have to admit it was never easy in the final as LCS are also a good side. However, we had a good game-plan which really worked for us.
“i told the players to force LCS into committing fouls close to the penalty-box since we were struggling to break them down. We wanted to use our free-kick specialist and this plan worked and enabled Jerry to have a go at the keeper.
“After this win, we can now go into the final five matches of the season high on confidence and hopefully, make it a double by winning the Top8 and league titles.”
On his part, Kamela said he was very happy to scoop the individual accolades but was also quick to pay tribute to the rest of the team.
“This is due reward for hard work and i’m also very grateful to Lioli for giving me this chance. Credit must also go to my colleagues as it is teamwork that worked for us in the end,” Kamela said.
Kamela also spoke about the goal that made the difference in the final.
“i said a short prayer before taking the free-kick and was delighted to see the ball going into the net.
“i always pray to my God for strength; i asked for his guidance when i took that freekick and was very happy to see it going in,” he said.
Meanwhile, LNIG sponsored this year’s competition to the tune of M600 000. With Lioli walking away with M100 000, runnersup LCS received M80 000, while LDF took home M60 000 and fourth-placed ed Bantu pocketed M40 000.
Quarterfinalists Matlama, Likhopo, Sundawana and Likila United nited each received M30 000.
The Top8 tournament in- volves teams which finish the previous season among the first eight sides on the Vodacom Premier League table.
Individual awards s Coach of the tournament — Mpitsa Marai (LCS), Player of the tournament ent — Jerry Kamela (Lioli), Goal of the tournament urnament — Jerry Kamela (Lioli), Goalkeeperer of the tournament — Kananelo Makhooane ne (Lioli), Top goalscorer — Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Lioli), Referee of the tournament — Lebalang Mokete, assistant referee of the tournament ent — Souru Phatšoane.