Thrilling end to VPL first round

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

THE first round of the Vo­da­com Pre­mier League (VPL) came to a fre­netic end this past week­end, with Bantu emerg­ing as log lead­ers half­way into the cam­paign.

Top spot will surely be mu­sic to the ears of A Matšo Mate­bele sup­port­ers since a few weeks ago it looked like ei­ther Kick­4life or Li­oli would fin­ish the first round as the league pace­set­ters.

Bantu coach James Ma­didi­lani and his charges de­serve ku­dos for turn­ing the Mafeteng side’s for­tunes around af­ter hav­ing blown hot and cold at the be­gin­ning of the 2016/17 cam­paign.

To say A Matšo Mate­bele were dis­ap­point­ing last sea­son would be an understatement, but Ma­didi­lani and his as­sis­tant Bob Mafoso have man­aged to steer the ship in the right di­rec­tion so far.

As I have said be­fore, hav­ing the premier­ship’s big guns per­form­ing well and in con­tention for ma­jor sil­ver­ware is good for our foot­ball

Just three weeks ago, Kick­4life were on top of the log be­fore be­ing over­taken by Li­oli last week­end.

Tse Nala were on the table’s sum­mit for just one week be­fore they suf­fered their sec­ond de­feat of the cam­paign at the hands of LCS and sur­ren­der­ing the top spot to Bantu.

There can be no doubt­ing the com­pet­i­tive- ness of the VPL teams which I hope will con­tinue to the very end of the cam­paign.

A marked im­prove­ment is also ev­i­dent in terms of the goals scored by the clubs, with 161 goals hav­ing been net­ted at this stage of the cam­paign last sea­son com­pared to the 202 for the cur­rent cam­paign.

Premier­ship strik­ers have also been very im­pres­sive in front of goals, with Linare’s Nzenze Nkulu lead­ing the charts with 11 goals; four short of the tally that won Mote­bang Sera the top goal scorer award last sea­son.

Hope­fully, Nkulu and the other strik­ers will main­tain the stan­dards they have set for them­selves be­cause I would love to see the win­ner of the golden boot award this sea­son scor­ing at least 20 goals.

The other big guns, namely Mat­lama, LCS, LMPS and LDF, are not too far be­hind the top three teams and hope­fully they will ex­ert more pres­sure on the VPL pace­set­ters in the sec­ond round.

Sky Bat­tal­ion’s 2-1 tri­umph over Mat­lama stands out among the week­end’s up­sets.

The pre­mier league’s new boys have been play­ing ex­cit­ing foot­ball since their pro­mo­tion to top flight foot­ball and I hope they will keep up the mo­men­tum in the sec­ond round.

In their favour, Sky Bat­tal­ion is a rel­a­tively young side which is men­tored by an equally youth­ful Tha­bile Secker who is a for­mer as­sis­tant coach at Li­oli.

Secker’s suc­cess with the league rook­ies shows he put the years as the sec­ond in com­mand to the likes of Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu, Lehlo­honolo Thotanyana at the league’s de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons to good use.

Be­fore I go, I would like to wish Makoanyane XI the best of luck as they rep­re­sent the coun­try at the un­der-20 COSAFA Cup which got un­der­way in South Africa yes­ter­day.

The same goes for mem­bers of team Le­sotho who left the coun­try on Mon­day for the Africa Union Sports Coun­cil Zone Five Youth Games that also got un­der­way ear­lier this week in An­gola.

Bantu coach James Ma­didi­lani.

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