Alliance fiesta at Setsoto
FOUR premier league big guns will this weekend fine-tune preparations for the upcoming season with the two-day Alliance Winter Challenge slated for Setsoto Stadium.
The tournament gets underway on Saturday with Matlama taking on Sundawana, while Lioli play LCS in the second semifinal match of the day. The final will be held the following day at the same venue.
Matlama, LCS and Lioli are all sponsored by the insurance giant, hence their participation in the tournament, while Sundawana are this year’s guest team.
The winners are set to walk away with a trophy and gold medals, with a Man of the Match award lined up in all the fixtures.
A M1 000 prize is also in the offing for outstanding individuals such as Player of the Tournament, Top Goalkeeper and Top GoalScorer at the end of the tournament.
Matlama coach, Moses Maliehe, told the Lesotho Times the Alliance Winter Challenge was part of the team’s preseason preparations. The 2016/17 premiership campaign gets underway on 27 August.
“We welcome the tournament because it will help us prepare for the new season, as we have already played a few friendly matches,” Maliehe said.
“The competition will give us a chance to assess our players. We are not ready as yet, and there is still a long way to go.”
Sundawana communication and marketing officer, Bokang Phasumane echoed the sentiment, saying the tournament would afford their new players a platform to showcase what they have to offer.
“Everything is going according to plan so far, and the tournament will give the new players a platform to show what they are made of,” Phasumane said.
“We have signed two players from Ghana, and one of them is a striker. We want him to reduce the pressure on our top marksman for last season, Roboama Koloti.”
He said the Butha-buthe-based side had moved on following the departure of coach, Bob Mafoso, who helped Sundawana finish fourth in the last campaign.
“We have Ntate Sidwell Mothea and Lepanya Borotho who were here last season, and know the culture of this team. So, we have full confidence in them,” said Phasumane.
“As for Koloti, we are not sure of his fitness levels. He struggled with an injury while playing for the national under-20 team. We will soon assess his fitness levels.”
LCS coach Mpitsa Marai said the tournament had come too early for his side, as they only started their pre-season training three weeks ago.
“We are just three weeks into our pre-season and the focus has been on the fitness and conditioning of the players,” Marai said.
“However, we will participate in the tournament and do our best under the circumstances.
“We have some new players on trials at the club, and maybe the tournament will help us see what they can offer.”
For his part, Lioli coach Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu said winning the Alliance Insurance Winter tournament would be a good start in their league title defence.
“It is always important to start the season well. Winning this competition would boost the confidence of the players heading into the new season,” Mokhothu said.
“So I am looking forward to it. The tournament is also a good opportunity to entertain our supporters.”
lioli midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle LCS striker Thabo Seakhoa
Matlama midfielder Phafa Tšosane Sundawana midfielder Roboama Koloti