Thrilling end to VPL first round
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.