LCS look like a team on a mission
LCS defied the odds over weekend by prevailing over Lioli and Matlama in the semifinal and final respectively of the Alliance Winter Challenge tournament.
Matlama, LCS and Lioli are all sponsored by the insurance giant, hence their participation in the tournament, while Sundawana were this year’s guest team.
It may have been a pre-season competition, in which the participating teams were trying out various player combinations, but LCS coach Mpitsa Marai certainly sent warning shots of his intention to take the correctional service side to its glory days.
Marai had a long career playing for LCS, before hanging up his boots for a coaching role.
Under his mentorship last season, LCS finished the campaign in third place.
The former Likuena defender’s success after just one season in charge did not go unnoticed as he was added to the national side’s technical team as assistant to coach Moses Maliehe.
His impact was immediate, with Likuena reaching the quarterfinals of the COSAFA Cup held in June this year in Namibia.
What impressed me about LCS’S performance during the Alliance Winter Challenge final was that, unlike Matlama, they utilised mostly unknown and new players.
However, the correctional service side did not let their inexperience get the better of them, and went all the way to defeat Tse
Putsoa 2-1. It’s not too often that a rookie coach hits the ground running, but Marai has been very impressive so far.
At this rate, Masheshena fans have a reason to be optimistic about their prospects in the upcoming Vodacom Premier League season.
From the look of things, Marai is rebuilding the team with a group of youngsters who will take over from the ageing first 11.
LCS fell short in the race for the league title last season due to lack of depth in their squad. I expect LCS to give a better account of themselves in the new campaign and take the likes of Lioli and Matlama to task in the fight for silverware.
Most of the youngsters who played over the weekend showed a lot of potential, and will surely add value to the squad going into the new season.
Their challenge for silverware will begin in October during the Independence Cup tourney featuring the same four clubs that battled in the Alliance Winter Challenge.
Alliance Insurance deserves kudos for affording the four teams an opportunity to compete in a well-organised tourney in which they shared the gate takings.
Such support is good for our football and local clubs can thrive if more competitions of this nature were availed.
Hopefully, more companies will follow suit and help improve the standards of the game in the country.
We now await the new season to see if winning the Alliance Winter Challenge was just a fluke for LCS or they really mean business.
LCS players celebrate after winning the Alliance Winter Challenge at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.