LCS look like a team on a mis­sion

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

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.

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