LCS coach Mpitsa Marai is hopeful that his side will bounce back from Sunday’s 1-0 LNIG Top8 quarterfinal loss to Lioli and book a place in the semi-finals by winning the second leg at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday.
The semi-final is set for 6 April 2019 at Setsoto Stadium, while the final will be played the next day at the same venue.
The Masheshena coach also bemoaned the poor refereeing standards in the last game but said his side still has what it takes to bounce back.
“We still have a good chance of advancing because we lost by a thin margin and it’s important to get goals in the second leg,” Marai said.
“Our preparations will mostly concentrate on playing offensive football because we need the goals to comeback and book a place in the semi-finals.”
Marai said that having the likes of Sepiriti Malefane and Setho Moshoeshoe fully fit is an advantage for his team which is also in the race for the Econet Premier League title.
“All our players are available and we fielded our first team from the goalkeeper up to the attackers. That is a big advantage which takes us back to where we were in the first round when we were on song.
“It also increases the depth of our substitutes having depth. In the first leg against Lioli, our substitutes did not really change the game and that is something we have to work on so that the players can make a difference when they come from the bench.
“Failure to get into camp before some of these matches also works against us. The work rate of the players leaves a lot to be desired because during the week days you can commend the work that they put in but come match, day things are different.
“We know our players can misbehave if there is no one watching them but also we lack the resources to call in all the players into camp. Only a few league teams can afford camping with the players.
“In the first round we managed to go into camp regularly but the club has financial constraints and that has taken its toll on our preparations. However, we have to put all our problems behind us and fight Lioli for a place in the semi-finals,” Marai said.
Tse Nala and Masheshena will play in the first match while LDF and Kick4Life will play in the second match. LDF and Kick4Life drew nil all in the first leg.
In Maputsoe on Sunday, LMPS clash with defending champions Matlama. Tse Putsoa have a 1-0 advantage while Majantja will take on Bantu in the second match. A Matšo have a 3-0 cushion after cruising past the opponents at Setsoto on Saturday.
For his part, Lioli coach Lehlohonolo Thotanyana admitted that the job is yet to be completed and they have to double their efforts to sail through on Saturday.
“I think it’s all about improving our performance by working harder than we did to get another good result.
“It’s a slim margin and even if we won by 3-0, football is full of surprises and the opponents could still make a comeback.
“We still have to work hard to win the game and get to the semi-finals” Thotanyana said.
The Lioli mentor indicated that they are taking the tournament seriously as it presents a chance for his country to win their second title this season after the Independence trophy bagged late last year. He said the road to the LNIG final is much shorter than the league although they are still mathematically in the race for the title.
“The league is a bit distant from us though we have a chance. However, with the LNIG, the road is short in terms of getting to the final. So, we will work very hard to see what we can get out of the game,” Thotanyana said.
LNIG Top8 fixture
LCS v Lioli
Kick4Life v LDF
LMPS v Matlama
Majantja v Bantu