Easter foot­ball fi­esta

. . . as Li­oli hunts down premier­ship pace­set­ters Bantu

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

SOC­CER lovers can ex­pect a sport­ing feast when the Easter week­end be­gins to­mor­row as the Vo­da­com Pre­mier League clubs take to the field in matches that could de­cide the cham­pi­onship and rel­e­ga­tion.

Newly crowned LNIG Top 8 cham­pi­ons Li­oli will go head to head with Rovers in a match that has a strong bear­ing on both ends of the ta­ble.

A win for Tse Nala will see them over­take Bantu on top of the log while a win for Rovers could boost their chances of sur­viv­ing the dreaded chop.

Li­oli coach Hale­makale Mahlaha un­der­scored the im­por­tance of the match, say­ing his charges had to avoid com­pla­cency after their cup suc­cess on Sun­day.

“I hope the play­ers will fully fo­cus on the up­com­ing matches be­cause we have a chance of go­ing top,” Mahlaha said in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week.

“I gave the play­ers an off day on Mon­day to en­joy the mo­ment (of their tri­umph) but we will have to go back to the pitch and work hard again.”

Mahlaha has won two tro­phies since re­plac­ing Mosholu ‘ Shoes’ Mokhothu at the start of the sea­son.

He said their man­date was to de­fend all the tro­phies that they won last sea­son and they were on the right track.

The Li­oli men­tor said he was aware of the task that awaits them against Rovers who are play­ing for sur­vival.

“We know that they can be a very good side be­cause they beat us 2-1 in our first game after win­ning the In­de­pen­dence Cup late last year.

“So we have to be cau­tious in our ap­proach be­cause we need to win all our re­main­ing matches,” he said.

He said they would draw in­spi­ra­tion from their last three matches where they scored five goals against Butha Buthe War­riors and four against each of Bantu and LCS.

“The pos­i­tives that I have taken from our last three games is that we are scor­ing goals again which means the play­ers are giv­ing ev­ery­thing to help the team achieve its goals.”

Rovers come into the match on the back of a tu­mul­tuous week at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho where vi­o­lent con­fronta­tions be­tween the po­lice and stu­dents protest­ing gov­ern­ment’s non-pay­ment of their fees re­sulted in the clo­sure of the in­sti­tu­tion.

Club pres­i­dent, Te­boho Nzeku said this could work against his play­ers psy­cho­log­i­cally.

“We can­not re­ally say what will hap­pen go­ing for­ward, but it’s ob­vi­ous the dis­tur­bance is go­ing to work af­fect us psy­cho­log­i­cally one way or the other,” Nzeku said.

“Such sit­u­a­tions had a big im­pact on our per­for­mances in the past but we will pre­pare in the best way we can.

“We can’t ask for the game to be post­poned be­cause this fix­ture is a de­layed one so it will be un­fair on the au­thor­i­ties and other teams.”

The Dy­na­mites boss how­ever said they were con­fi­dent of a good re­sult after their im­pres­sive come­back to beat Likhopo 2-1 in the bat­tle for sur­vival a fort­night ago.

“We re­sponded very well after los­ing to Butha Buthe War­riors and play­ing at the In­ter­var­sity games.

“We have had in­ter­nal is­sues of tru­ancy with some key play­ers but we have since spo­ken to them about the im­por­tance of help­ing the team sur­vive rel­e­ga­tion.”

He said they would take the mo­men­tum of their vic­tory over Likhopo into the match they would fight hard to win as they could not af­ford to drop points.

In the other Fri­day matches, third placed Kick­4life face off with Liphakoe while Likhopo en­ter­tain Sandawana in a dou­ble header at LCS Ground.

Rel­e­gated Butha Buthe War­riors travel to Maseru for a date with LDF.

On Sun­day, Li­oli have a tough task against LCS in a re­peat of last Sun­day’s LNIG Top 8 fi­nal.

The fol­low­ing day Bantu will take on Liphakoe in a po­ten­tial thriller as the ti­tle race en­ters the home stretch.

Mat­lama have a tough as­sign­ment against Sky Bat­tal­ion in a bat­tle for a top eight fin­ish.

Li­oli v Rovers Kick­4life v Liphakoe Likhopo v Sandawana LDF v Butha Buthe War­riors

Sun­day Li­oli v LCS

Fixtures:

Mon­day Bantu v Liphakoe Mat­lama v Sky Bat­tal­ion Linare v Likhopo Sandawana v Rovers LMPS v Kick­4life

Bantu mid­fielder Litšepe MARABE. Li­oli mid­fielder Tšoanelo Koe­tle.

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