Tse Nala prove their mettle
DEFENDING league champions Lioli maintained their status as the country’s cup kings on Sunday by outscoring LCS 4-3 to successfully defend their LNIG Top 8 crown.
The passage to the final was not an easy one for the Teyateyaneng side who overcame bitter rivals and bogey side, Bantu 4-2 in Saturday’s exciting semi-final clash.
Sunday’s final was an equally exciting affair to the very end and Halemakale Mahlaha’s side proved their mettle by recovering from a goal down to win 4-3.
The fact that LCS scored first, and an early 10th minute goal for that matter, showed how much the correctional service side badly wanted to win the trophy.
This will certainly go down as the liveliest cup competition we have witnessed in the country in a long time and a very good advertisement for our football too.
The competition had everything that a football spectator could ask for and to their credit, the match officials were up to the task, making the right calls and never the sort of controversial decisions that would have influenced the outcome of the matches.
It was indeed a lovely weekend of football with end to end entertainment on the field of play, filled with beautiful goals and individual brilliance.
The fierce battle between the two teams did not start and end on the field of play as the clubs used extra forces to help them win matches.
This came in the form of a sangoma that was found in one of the dressing rooms applying his charms before the final.
These are the extraordinary lengths the clubs are prepared to go just to win the tournament.
And Lioli have proved my pre-season prediction correct.
I said they would once again be the team to beat this season on the strength of the quality and depth in their squad.
That quality and experience was the dif- ference between them and Bantu and LCS on their way to their third LNIG Top 8 title since Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) began sponsoring the cup in 2014.
The squad has been together for almost five years as has the technical team although Halemakale Mahlaha has assumed the hot seat while Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu has been re-assigned to assistant coach.
Lioli also boasts experienced players like Bushy Moletsane whose career spans more than ten years at the highest level.
Moletsane has won almost every trophy on offer but continues to show the same attitude and hunger that he gave a decade ago.
Then there is Tumelo ‘ Makhopo’ Khutlang who swept all the individual awards at the tournament.
It would remiss on my part if I did not commend him for his brilliant goals against Bantu and this is one player who could go on to make a name for himself on the international stage.
He just needs to keep a cool head and achieve consistency.
LNIG Top 8 champions Lioli.