Dou­ble de­light at Set­soto

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

THE Vo­da­com Premier League sea­son will get un­der­way with a mouth-wa­ter­ing dou­ble header at Set­soto Sta­dium on Satur­day as Kick­4life go toe-to-toe with Likhopo and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Li­oli face off with LMPS.

Ac­cord­ing to Tse Nala com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, Tšeliso Ler­ata, the de­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons were rar­ing to re-es­tab­lish their league dom­i­nance.

The Tey­ateya­neng-based out­fit foray into the 2016/17 cam­paign hav­ing parted ways with last sea­son’s cap­tain, Ba­sia Makepe. The in­flu­en­tial de­fender re-joined LMPS af­ter a sea­son-long loan spell. Li­oli’s Nkoto Ma­soabi and Tšepo Lekhooana will also not be avail­able in the LMPS match due to sus­pen­sion for fail­ing to show-up for pre-sea­son train­ing.

How­ever, Ler­ata said there was enough depth in the squad to cover the ab­sences af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion of for­mer Likuena striker Thapelo Tale, Setho Moshoeshoe who re­turned home af­ter years in the United States and Tha­hane Mokhehle from Mphat­lalat­sane.

“The squad has a lot of depth, and I don’t think there is need to panic about the play­ers who left or are un­avail­able for the open­ing match,” he said.

“Tale comes with a big name and will surely prove a good sign­ing along with the other new play­ers. In any case, we still have our top play­ers who helped the team win the league last sea­son. So we are ready for the new cam­paign.”

LMPS pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Kot­soane Ra­makau said their fo­cus was on the three points on of­fer on Satur­day.

He said the club was rac­ing against time to com­plete new singings to bol­ster the squad and reg­is­ter Makepe.

“I think we have pre­pared well and are ready for the new sea­son to be­gin,” Ra­makau said.

“The play­ers have been work­ing hard and also played some friendly games to as­sess how far we have gone in our pre-sea­son preparations.

“We are also in the process of re­in­forc­ing our squad with Makepe re­turn­ing af­ter a loan spell at Li­oli. Our agree­ment with Li­oli was for him to play for them last sea­son and re­turn for the 2016/17 sea­son.”

Bantu coach James Ma­didi­lani, who is sad­dled with the oner­ous task of re­viv­ing Matšo Mate­bele’s for­tunes af­ter a dis­as­trous 2015/16 cam­paign also de­clared his side was ready to rum­ble.

“Our pre-sea­son preparations went very well, and we are ready to com­pete,” Ma­didi­lani said.

“As far as chal­leng­ing for hon­ours is con­cerned, all I can say is any­thing is pos­si­ble. I am happy with the team we have, although there is a pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing two or three more ad­di­tions to the squad be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes.”

Moses Maliehe, whose Mat­lama side travel to league rook­ies Butha-buthe Warriors on Sun­day, said Tse Put­soa might not have fared well dur­ing the pre-sea­son, but the league opener would be a dif­fer­ent ball game. Mat­lama lost to LCS in the Al­liance Win­ter

AChal­lenge and to for­mer Botswana cham­pi­ons Town­ship Rollers dur­ing the pre­sea­son.

“We have con­tin­ued to work hard to im­prove from our mis­takes, and I think ev­ery­thing is go­ing well so far,” he said.

“The open­ing match is very im­por­tant for us, and we will go there to get three points. The pre-sea­son pe­riod was part of the learn­ing process, so we will not put too much stock into it.”

Maliehe added: “The mis­takes we made in some of the pre­sea­son matches were good in that they helped us to im­prove and learn.”

For his part, Les­lie Notši of Kick­4life wel­comed a tough open­ing fix­ture against Likhopo, say­ing his side had a good pre-sea­son which gal­vanised them ahead of the new cam­paign.

“We had a very good pre-sea­son, and I think ev­ery­one is ready from the tech­ni­cal depart­ment to the play­ers,” Notši said.

“It is not go­ing to be easy, but we are ready and rar­ing to go. We will want to main­tain the per­for­mance lev­els we dis­played last sea- son and do well once again.”

Premier league open­ing fix­tures Li­oli v LMPS Kick­4life v Likhopo Linare v Sky Bat­tal­ion

Sun­day LDF v Sun­dawana Bantu v Rovers Liphakoe v LCS BB Warriors v Mat­lama

Li­oli winger Lekhanya Lekhanya (cen­tre) evades LMPS play­ers in their en­counter last sea­son.

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